Over 200 special police officers recruited to monitor the Green Line started their training on Tuesday even though the initial number expected was 300.

On Monday, 221 people were sworn in to patrol the 180km line in an effort to combat illegal migration via the north. They have now begun their nine-week training.

The 221 officers will be divided into three groups.

One group will be trained at the police academy, another at the direct action unit and the third at the migration and civil registry department.

They will alternate for the duration of the nine-week training, completing sessions at all three places.

The purpose is for the officers to learn how to handle migrants, use the weapons, and the method of arrest. Upon completion of their training and depending on the needs of the force, they will assume duties in all districts except Limassol.

Among other things, they will carry out guarding and patrol duties along the Green Line, as well as at other international borders, mainly to manage and deal with migration flows.

They will also perform tasks that include the surveillance of the line for possible crossing areas, movement of migrants, guarding migration centres, and overseeing deportation of migrants.

A total of 401 people applied to be part of the unit, out of which 255 passed the application process, while only 221 passed the physical exam.

In May last year, the interior and justice ministries requested that 300 contract police officers be hired for up to 28 months as the state steps up its efforts to tackle irregular migration across the buffer zone.