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Sacked chief blames parties for many of police force’s problems

Former police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou who was sacked on Friday

Former police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou urged the public on Monday to trust the force and blamed political parties for many of the problems it faces.

In a written statement, Chrysostomou expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims of a serial killer and apologised for any mistakes and omissions the force had committed in investigating earlier missing person cases.

The former chief was dismissed by the president last week.

“I will repeat for the umpteenth time, this country’s political system is not blameless for the problems and distortions shown in the police force,” he said.

It is well known that as with other government departments, the police too have been used by political parties and administrations throughout time to secure employment and promotions for supporters, very often depriving the force of better candidates.

Chrysostomou also repeated that the force lacked the necessary personnel since recruitment had been frozen for five years, leaving it with 600 fewer officers at a time when terrorism and organised crime were on the rise.

He dismissed EU figures showing Cyprus had the most officers per 100,000 inhabitants, arguing that the Cypriot police is tasked with duties and responsibilities handled by separate organisations in other countries.

The former chief said reforms had been carried out in the past five years, including new recruitment criteria to ensure the best candidates were hired.

Officer training and education has also undergone reform and an internal affairs department was also created to fight corruption he said.

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