Cyprus Mail
CrimeCyprusFeatured

‘Words are easy, action is tough’ minister says of tackling hooliganism (Updated)

eleutheria khamos epeisodia.width 770

The justice ministry, police and other key players on Friday agreed on a memorandum of understanding in tackling hooliganism, which will be binding on all parties in terms of be responsibilities that will be attributed to them under the agreement.

Justice Minister Anna Prokopiou described the meeting as very productive.

“All the agencies that were at the meeting today have agreed to a memorandum of understanding, which will be binding for all sides and will include an action plan with specific timetables and division of responsibilities,” she said.

Her comments came soon after the police made another two arrests in the aftermath of last weekend’s violence at a sporting event, raising the total number of suspects arrested to four.

Prokopiou conceded that there is still a long way to go.

“Words are easy, action is tough,” she noted.

The fallout from last Sunday’s violence at the Anorthosis-Apollon basketball semi-final at Tassos Papadopoulos Eleftheria Stadium sparked fresh debate over how to deal with hooligans and who is responsible.

Police on Friday said the latest arrests – two men aged 25 and 31, both from Limassol – were made after the force secured arrest warrants against the two suspects. Another two suspects are still being sought.

Last weekend’s violence saw considerable destruction of property along with a series of injuries, too, including three officers.

The police and government faced criticism for seemingly being unable to get the situation under control, prompting cabinet to announce tough new measures.

That includes random spot checks at stadiums for alcohol and drug use.

But police unions on Thursday decried the government’s measures as “unrealistic”. They further claimed that the procedures for reporting officers are too easy and prevent them from being able to do their job.

Prokopiou, however, stated after the meeting on Friday that there was no disagreement with the measures, and that all parties will do their bit to tweak the legislation.

Asked about the concerns raised by the police unions, Prokopiou argued that it is too early to draw such conclusions until the investigation into Sunday’s incident is complete.

The minister did say, however, that she is open to suggestions.

As to who bears responsibility for the descent of a sporting match into violence, Prokopiou said it is shared amongst all those involved – from the police, to authority issuing stadium licences, the justice ministry itself, fan clubs, and so on.

As for the creation of an anti-riot squad at sporting events, the police chief said that the details are being worked out.

For his part the Chief of Police Stelios Papatheodorou said  that the investigation into the  latest incident was at a very advanced stage and would be ready next Wednesday.

He also spoke of a study into the management of the issue in other European countries and mentioned obstacles such as understaffing.

“With 715 vacancies now and 50 more by the year we are racing to catch up and train team,” he added.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Migrant centres to house Syrians waiting for asylum

Nikolaos Prakas

Fear that petrol will hit €2 a litre

Iole Damaskinos

Govt taking all measures for security

Jonathan Shkurko

Cyprus to host Commonwealth meet

Staff Reporter

Man fined for bird trapping in bases

Jonathan Shkurko

Everest on top of the world

Staff Reporter