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Partial approval of police anti-corruption bill

The House plenum on Wednesday partially approved the referral of a bill concerning the internal police audit service, aimed to tackle corruption within the force.

As it stands, the law now only grants some of the powers the internal police audit service was designed to have.

Aimed to investigate police officers suspected of breaking the law, following parliament’s 47 votes in favour and two against, by Elam, the service will now have the authority to put officers in the force under surveillance without a court warrant.

Officers will also be subject to narcotests and alcohol level tests without warning.

After the session, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said although he was pleased that some of the original provisions had remained intact, the bill passed into law gave the service limited authority and created unequal treatment between the general public and members of the police force.

The original legislation allowed the audit service – based on reasonable suspicion alone – to enter any premises without a court warrant to gather evidence or material suggesting criminal activity on the part of police officers.

MPs did not pass this part into law citing concerns it would give the service unrestricted power. Disy was the only party in favour of the provision.

Nicolaou disagreed with the concerns saying this made the service’s job harder.

“For example, in a case concerning theft which may have taken place at the premises of a member of the public, police can enter without a search warrant.”

But in a case where a police officer is suspected of being involved, a court warrant would be required to carry out the investigations.

“To do this, there must be concrete evidence for court to issue the warrant.”

The minister questioned why lawmakers allowed this discrepancy to exist between members of the public and members of the force.

 

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