The police force is to be modernised, upgraded and reorganised in line with the recommendations of the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (Greco), Justice Minister Anna Procopiou said on Wednesday.

Procopiou was speaking alongside police chief Stelios Papatheodorou at the House ethics committee and said she had discussed the new focus of the police regarding the planned changes, “taking into account geopolitical developments in the region”.

She said Greco had issued a total of 22 recommendations to Cyprus, nine of which concern the police force.

She added that the police force have selected “many” of Greco’s recommendations as applicable for their own modernisation, adding that stipulations for the implementation of such recommendations are included in the police’s budget.

One of these issues, she said, “is the strengthening of the police’s independence and the strengthening of the police’s intelligence service”.

Others include transfers to digital means of record keeping, upgrades to the police’s call centre, and “a greater emphasis on policing issues, as well as the matter of duties outside of policing”.

In addition, she said Greco had recommended that Cyprus’ police “develop a coordinated integrity and corruption prevention policy based on the assessment of risks, accompanied by targeted mitigation and control measures, subject to regular monitoring”.

Following the committee meeting, Disy MP and committee chairman Demetris Demetriou said the meeting was “very productive”.

“Greco’s recommendations are very important, and therefore we as a country must implement them,” he said.

“We note the intention of the justice minister and the chief of police to implement these recommendations, which cannot be done without a top-to-bottom reorganisation of the police force.”

Akel MP Andreas Pasiourtides described it as “utopian thinking” for someone to believe that “in a body with so many thousands of employees, everything is black or white.”

He added that “procedures and conditions should definitely be improved, and this must be done with the recognition, primarily by the [police force’s] leadership, that there may be issues which require improvement, without erecting a wall of defence and denial.”

Diko MP Zacharias Koulias said the police force “has remained the same from 1960 until today”, and added that the country “should increase the number of people working for the police, as the needs of policing have multiplied, while the number of workers has remained the same.”