By George Psyllides
The police went head-to-head with the Paphos mayor on Thursday, accusing him of populism, as Phedonas Phedonos continued to accuse the force of incompetence and corruption.
In a written statement, the police rejected the mayor’s crushing criticism as unfounded, adding that it refused to follow populist path followed by Phedonos.
“We are proud of the history and service of the police and its members, of public order and security in this country, and defending the Republic whenever necessary,” the statement said.
It accused the mayor of following a practice that can only serve as a warning to suspects and affect the work of the force.
In the statement, the police complained that only in Cyprus would the force be under fire instead of being praised after resolving two serious crimes.
Phedonos has repeatedly accused the force of doing nothing despite him providing them with information about certain individuals, including the one, Elias Mouzis, whom police arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of critically injuring an officer during a shootout.
“When an officer was shot they remembered that organised crime exists, they remembered to increase street patrols, they remembered to carry out more checks …” he told Sigma television.
Phedonos said the force was made of officers who either didn’t offer all they could, or were useless, or corrupt.
He said police never bothered Mouzis despite knowing he was involved in about 50 criminal offences until he shot the officer.
“Now they went to arrest him,” he said.
Similar questions were posed by main opposition Akel, which also wondered what the justice minister had been doing for the past six years when now he says the authorities would show zero tolerance.
“How can a known, wanted criminal, be able to move around freely and be arrested inside 24 hours after the crime he allegedly committed,” Akel said in a statement.
The party wondered if the police knew of his actions and did nothing to detain him.
Akel urged President Nicos Anastasiades to stop watching from the sidelines and do something about the situation.
“It is not enough to make angry statements as if the failure to tackle crime is some other president’s.”