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Abuse and favourtism dominate complaints against police.

Byline: Stefanos Evripidou

LIMASSOL POLICE have garnered the most complaints from the public this year, according to the police complaints authority yesterday, which said 16 of 57 complaints involved officers from that district.

According to the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Claims and Complaints against the Police, 57 complaints were made against members of the police force in the first six months of 2009, showing a slight increase compared to the same period the year before.

The police complaints authorityAaannounced yesterday that from the 57, 16 involved members of the Limassol District police force, 11 implicated Nicosia District police, ten involved the Paphos district, eight referred to Larnaca District, three targeted the police leadership, two the Morphou District police, another two complaints were made against the Mobile Rapid Reaction Unit (MMAD), one against a Famagusta District officer, one against the Port Police, one was directed at Traffic Headquarters, while two complaints were made against non-members of the force.

Included in the 57 were ten complaints that did not fall within the remit of the independent authority, while from the remaining 47, only one is expected to lead to criminal proceedings.

In total, 21 investigations were launched, from which 18 were completed, two are ongoing while another was halted following the withdrawal of the complaint. No criminal or disciplinary offences were found in 14 of those cases, while for two, recommendations were made to the Attorney-general to launch criminal proceedings. The AG proposed criminal proceedings for only one of those cases and requested that the Police Chief launch disciplinary proceedings against the officers involved.

For another 18 complaints, the independent authority decided after an initial investigation that the police handling of the cases was satisfactory and did not justify further investigation. The decision to pursue seven complaints is still pending due to lack of information that was requested and has not yet been received.

One complaint considered of minor significance was sent to the Police Chief for him to handle, while the authority awaits news on that case.

From the 47 complaints that fall within its mandate, 22 involved violations of human rights, the majority of which concerned police abuse, while 25 involved incidents of preferential treatment or behaviour which is considered harmful to the prestige of the force.

Also, on its own initiative the authority sought information from the chief of police on a number of reports brought to light through the media. These cases involved claims against a Larnaca officer for abuse of money; a case of corruption of a Paphos officer; an officer involved in child pornography through the internet; a Paphos officer implicated in a case of indecent assault, common assault and threat of use of violence; and the death of a Lithuanian man at Yermasoya police station.

The police complaints authority notes that it was satisfied with the police investigation carried out in all cases, concluding that no further investigation was necessary.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Sep 29, 2009
Words:499
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