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Police to consult with AG’s office after court nullifies dozens of hires 

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Police chief Stylianos Papatheodorou speaking to the press on Thursday (CNA)

Police chief Stylianos Papatheodorou on Thursday said they would discuss with the state legal service what to do next after the administrative court this week nullified the hiring of 75 police officers and 25 firemen more than a year after they assumed their duties, over irregularities in the hiring process.

Papatheodorou said they will have a meeting with the legal service on Friday to discuss the matter and find ways of reviewing the hiring process in question.

The administrative court on Wednesday upheld an appeal related to a decision nullifying the hiring of 75 police officers and 25 firemen, hired in August 2020, citing irregularities in the procedure.

The decision, prompted after two appeals filed by people who didn’t make the cut, concerns a call for applications in March 2019 for filling 256 posts in the police force and 56 in the fire service. Applicants had to take written exams, a physical fitness test, a written psychometric test conducted by a committee and test negative for drug use.

The decision was based on the fact that 14 candidates were not called to take the psychometric test because they had taken another such test four months earlier during a previous procedure for hiring special constables. The court ruled that this was in breach of the principles of equal treatment, but also against the fair and equal assessment of the candidates. It also found that the involvement of the hiring council in this decision was illegal since it was acting outside its mandate.

It also emerged that the psychometric tests process was carried out by a private company instead of the committee appointed by the police chief for this purpose. The committee in question, instead of organising the test itself, outsourced the procedure to a private company, despite the fact that according to the regulations, it was not allowed to do so.

The court also found an illegality in the fact that the required tests were not carried out as per the application description since 21 candidates were allowed to take the psychometric test despite not having completed the physical test. “Success in the first is a prerequisite for participation in the next, since these tests are mentioned in sequential order,” the ruling said, adding this is also mentioned in the regulations.

“The participation of these candidates resulted in it taken into account in their overall score, in order to determine the exclusion criterion,” the court said.

Papatheodorou said they would not appeal the decision but that they would look into it with the legal service “if we are going to do the process all over again.”

The decision is expected to impact the already understaffed police force.

Papatheodorou, who visited the Paphos police headquarters on Thursday said that staff shortages there were much bigger compared to other districts.

He said that, after the force hires new staff, the necessary number of officers would be dispatched to Paphos.

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