A surge in crime in the north and the strong public outcry has led Turkish Cypriot police to declare ‘a state of emergency’, daily Kibris reported on Friday.
Despite police understaffing, leading to longer shifts to cover existing needs, the force decided to launch “a battle against crime”, which it said would run from June 17 until September 15. Operations will be carried out in all five districts in the north of Cyprus, and will take place at all times of day.
Due to staffing problems, Kibris said, police have been transferred from other departments to the crime prevention department, which will be reinforced by an additional 10 people every day on a rotating basis.
Operations will include an increase in traffic policing, while all local police stations will be equipped with riot gear and sidearms, Kibris noted.
According to the daily, these measures will seek to assuage public concern over rising crime.
It adds that concern was also voiced by the previous Turkish Cypriot ‘government’ after a robbery took place during Bayram at a Kyrenia jewellery shop in broad daylight, with the culprits easily escaping through Ercan (Tymbou) airport.
Reports in the north suggest people are coming in from Turkey, committing burglaries and robberies and leaving immediately afterwards to avoid arrest.
On Thursday suspects wanted in connection with two murders on both sides of the divide were exchanged.
A Pakistani national was handed over through Unficyp to Turkish Cypriot police who is suspected of the murder of Turkish Cypriot artist Hasan Isik Ozgocmen in September last year. The suspect had fled to the government-controlled areas.