Cyprus Mail

Investigation police using patrol cars for own use ‘may be flawed’

An investigation has revealed that police patrol cars are being misused by officers but police sources told the Cyprus Mail on Friday that the auditor general’s office – in some cases – used outdated information.

So far eight officers are facing disciplinary action and another is under criminal investigation.

Their infractions were identified by their own technology: the newly fitted GPS vehicle tracking devices which were installed last year.

Police sources told the Cyprus Mail however that the parts of the investigation were flawed and misunderstandings may have occurred.

They pointed to the databases which linked parked cars to the officers’ supposed addresses as being outdated – in some cases by up to 20 years.

In one case a police officer was patrolling near a diplomat’s residence and parked for 10 to 20 minutes – as part of their job to secure the area – and this was flagged in the report.

The incident was possibly raised, it was explained, because the officer in question lived on the same road 15 years ago.

Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides, speaking at the Filoxenia Conference Center on Thursday, said that in many cases if the incidents were more thoroughly investigated most of them would not be deemed problematic.

The audit office, in a report published on May 18, found that 324 of the 412 vehicles with the devices stopped at the home addresses of members of the force, and more specifically, the drivers of the vehicles in question.

Michaelides said that the purpose was to show that in the “general use of the cars that there were wrongdoings”.

He welcomed however the police chief’s statement that eight officers will receive disciplinary action for their misuse of police cars.

In the most serious case, daily Phileleftheros reported that a police officer from Famagusta is under criminal investigation. It was discovered that the within 92 days the officer had been parked 15 times for over an hour.

Police chief Kypros Michaelides, referring to the Famagusta officer, said in one instance the patrol car was parked for five hours and forty-six minutes.

“There is definitely an issue and we will be relentless,” he said.

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