Cyprus Mail

Audit service of police force ‘unconstitutional’


The law on the police internal audit service is unconstitutional, the House legal affairs committee heard on Wednesday.

The discussion referred to a specific bill regarding internal, undercover investigations on police officers, with the force’s internal audit service being operationally subordinate to the attorney general’s office.

Based on the bill, prepared by the legal service, the power to terminate such an investigation is held by the attorney general.

In a statement, the police branch of labour union Isotita detailed its concerns about the specific bill.

“For five years now, some people have tolerated the unconstitutional ‘law of the incorruptible,’ which gives them [undercover internal auditors] the power, without court orders, to confiscate police assets without documentation, check bank accounts only with reasonable suspicion, and subject officers to breathalysers and drug tests, while on duty,” the statement said.

“The police don’t even have such powers for crime suspects, or people arrested for murder and kilos of drugs, but all unconstitutional legislations seem to be allowed within the force,” it added.

The union explained that previously, the specific body operated under different legislation, which specified that there should be concrete information about an individual committing an offence, and that an undercover officer would only interfere under the direction of a superior without trying to provoke the suspect, and instead giving them a chance to repeat the offence.

It also argued that the discretion granted to several branches of police to act immediately has resulted in red tape, which means that not all officers can operate undercover, and must only act with permission from senior members of the force, which makes the law unnecessary.

As for the members of the internal audit service, Isotita said that “they do not appear to be acting under cover” and that “all the cases involved to date present a problem, as even after the proposed amendment, they are not allowed to act under cover for disciplinary cases against police officers”.

It is questionable why these powers should also be given to the attorney general, after five years of the existence of this law, the statement concluded.



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