President Nicos Anastasiades asked the new chief of police on Tuesday to clean up the force and restore its prestige, battered after the revelations relating to the crimes committed by a serial killer.
“It is now your responsibility to find and use the best staff and to assign responsibility on those who do not adequately perform their duties to safeguard the Republic and the combat crime,” Anastasiades told Kypros Michaelides.
The public outcry against the police force is justified, Michaelides said, and vowed to do whatever is humanly possible to regain “lost ground and the trust of society towards the police and its members.”
Michaelides’ predecessor, Zacharias Chrysostomou, was dismissed by Anastasiades on Friday over the force’s perceived failures to properly investigate the cases of missing women in the past three years who eventually turned out to be victims of a serial killer.
Chrysostomou was dismissed a day after Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou resigned for the same reason.
Referring to the crimes that are currently still being uncovered, committed by the 35-year-old army officer and suspected serial killer Nikos Metaxas, Michaelides said the force had taken important steps in recent years towards its modernisation and effectiveness, “though these proved to not have been enough.”
Michaelides expressed his “regret, abhorrence and sincere condolences to the families of the victims,” over the police’s inability to protect “the innocent and defenceless souls who found death in such a tragic and hideous manner,” exposing the force’s weaknesses, gaps, and omissions.
The police are by the public’s side, devoid of discrimination and racism, with impartiality and professionalism, Michaelides concluded.