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Only a matter of time before police shot at says former top cop

It was only a matter of time before the shoot out with police officers in Limassol over the weekend was going to happen due to the economic difficulties plaguing the country, former chairman of the police association said on Tuesday.

“It was bound to eventually happen in Cyprus. Police officers are shot at in other European countries too. In Italy, far more frequently, maybe even daily between gangs. In Portugal, Spain… this isn’t uncommon,” Andreas Symeou said.

On Saturday evening two officers were shot at in their car after responding to a call about a parked rental car in Ypsonas whose three passengers were behaving suspiciously. A 37-year-old officer, Giorgos Georgiou, who was airlifted to Israel on Sunday, is said to be in stable condition. His colleague is being treated at a private clinic in Limasol.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Symeou outlined that “maybe we were a little underprepared” because such incidents haven’t occurred in the past on the island.

“This will be a lesson for us now.”

According to Symeou, information to police about suspicious activity comes daily and it has become almost routine for officers. As such, they may not take the necessary precautions.

For this particular case “we don’t know what how much information was given. If they knew the car had people with guns, the officers would have worn bulletproof vests, gone with patrols not on their own.”

Now however, officers will be on higher alert after this case unfolded.

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