Justice Minister Stephie Drakou on Sunday said police were criticised “sometimes justifiably and sometimes unjustifiably” but the force does have a “human face”, she said.
The minister was speaking on the annual Police Day, when members of the force go out to meet the public at an event that includes demonstrations by police dogs and explosive experts, performances by the police band, and activities for children.
This year’s event was held in Ayia Napa.
“With the presence here of members from the various departments and services, the public has the opportunity to understand the multidimensional role of the police and the wide range of services it offers for the smooth operation of society,” said Drakou.
She said this was important at a time when police were being criticised, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly.
“In the minds of society, of course, the image of the police as law enforcement is the prevailing one and they’re seen as those who adopt a strict stance in their effort to maintain order and security,” the minister added.
Today, however, we are given the opportunity to present the human face of the police, the police who are always at the service of the citizen, with the aim of ensuring a functional environment of order and security.”
She said it was always police the public turned to when they need help, and the goal was to help people view police more as a support mechanism for the citizen, than a group of enforcers.
“We want to build a relationship of honest communication with the public so that police can listen to the problems of the citizens and contribute effectively to their solution. In this endeavour, we need your support and the participation of all,” she said.
In his address at the event, Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou said security and protection of the citizen were the cornerstones on which states build the progress prosperity of their peoples.
Police are supporters and allies of the citizen,” he said. “This is how it should work. However, because every relationship is reciprocal, we expect citizens to also show a spirit of cooperation and a constructive attitude towards the police, since a society with high levels of security, goodwill and order is ultimately in the interest of all. That is why we call on the citizens to join us in the common struggle we are waging so that we can all live in a benevolent democratic state,” he added.