By Peter Stevenson
Police officially launched on Thursday a smartphone and tablet application with an online complaints form for reporting child pornography, online fraud, hacking or racism.
The app has already been used by around 600 people, chief of police Michalis Papageorgiou told reporters at a press conference to launch the services.
“The public can make complaints online via the police website (www.police.gov.cy) where they can report cases of child pornography, hacking, fraud and racism,” he said.
The app which is available for free for both android and apple smartphones and tablets, Papageorgiou explained, will provide those who choose to download it access to a number of services including helpful police phone numbers, tourist information, the ability to pay fines, useful information for those travelling abroad and the ability to call the emergency services directly. It will also provide people with the latest news, on any road closures, frequently asked questions, a link to the police YouTube and facebook pages, a link to the cyber crime unit and information to fans of teams travelling to a stadium for a sporting event.
“The creation and operation of the app is a pioneering innovation in Europe from the Cyprus police force,” the chief said.
To download the app you can visit either the Google Play Store, the Apple Store or by visiting the website mobile.cypruspolicenews.com. Those who do not possess a compatible smartphone or a tablet can use the app online with a computer by visiting app.cypruspolicenews.com.
“I would like to encourage the public not to hesitate and to proceed with any complaint through the website but also to install the free app as it will be a useful tool especially during an emergency,” Papageorgiou said.
Director of the police’s research and development department Christos Drakos said that the motivation behind creating the app and the online complaint platform were due to an increase in crime and to provide a service which was easily accessible to the public.
“When filling out a complaint form the public are required to fill in three compulsory fields before submitting their complaint. They need to provide us with a name, the type of complaint they wish to make and contact details,” Drakos said.
He assured the public that use of the site is completely safe as it works through a secure socket layer and the information that is handed over to police is completely confidential with only those who are investigating the case allowed access to any sensitive material.
“A database will be created to keep all of the statistics and information regarding complaints and crimes to make sure the service provides the public with what they require and possibly in helping us improve the service in certain areas,” he said.