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Cyprus

Police watchdog calls for more resources

The police independent watchdog received 234 complaints against the force last year and appointed investigators in 92, the House ethics committee heard on Wednesday.

“Out of the 92 cases, six were criminally prosecuted, and five led to disciplinary procedures,” committee chairman Zaharias Zahariou said.

The watchdog deemed that 92 out of the 234 warranted investigation

“It’s not just those that end up in criminal or disciplinary procedures, it the (watchdog) is also a weapon used by the public in civil suits, if proven, against the Republic,” Zahariou added.

It did emerge however that the authority operated on a shoestring budget, something which impacted its effectiveness.

Zahariou said the authority neither had a big budget nor any supporting personnel to assist in the investigations.

The authority has five members who are appointed by the cabinet for a five-year term.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou said despite efforts there were problems that were also mentioned in European Council reports regarding the adequacy of the authority’s budgets.

There were also possible conflict of interest issues like when state pathologists who may be called to investigate a complaint against the police are at the same time working with the force.

The investigators appointed to look into a complaint are themselves former officers, Damianou said.

“All these lead to the conclusion that there is a lot of room for improvement, but mainly an urgent need for the state to afford more cash and more capabilities to this important authority,” the MP added.

Damianou said everyone agreed that the authority lacked state support, both in human resources and tech, making it hard for them to do the work the state wanted.

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