Cyprus Police has a history of over one century. Its structure is basically identical to that of an English Police Service and most of the existing rules and regulations are based on English Laws since Cyprus was a British colony, from 1878 until 1960, when it became an independent state.
After 1960, two separate Forces carried out the policing in Cyprus. One for the urban areas, named “POLICE”, and one for the rural areas, named “GENDARMERIES”. A Greek Cypriot Chief and a Turkish Cypriot Chief administered these forces, respectively. The two forces of the Police were joined to form the present police service during the year 1964, shortly after the intercommunal troubles between the Greek and the Turkish communities, as a result of which the Turkish Cypriot officers abandoned their posts. In Cyprus, there is only one National Police Service. This is under the Minister of Justice and Public Order. The mission of the Cyprus Police is the maintenance of law and public order throughout the Republic, the preservation of peace, the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension of offenders. The Police undertake a wide range of duties and responsibilities. In addition, other duties and responsibilities are imposed on the Cyprus Police, as a result of the geographical position of the island and the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in 1974.
Organization - The organization of the Cyprus Police is based upon a hierarchical structure, having the Chief of Police at the top. The rank structure and strength at the end of 2003, was as on the table below.
It should be noted that 676 of the persons employed by the Cyprus Police are women (12,31%).
The functions of the Police are divided into four principal areas: Education, Administration, Operations and Support Services.
As far as the administrative and functional set-up is concerned, the Cyprus Police is constituted by:
- Seven Police Units
- Six District Police Divisions
- The Fire Service
Criminality - Criminality in Cyprus has been sustained at very low levels. As far as the organized crime is concerned, it should be noted that it has been considerably restricted. Compared to international standards, organized crime in Cyprus is at an 'infant' age. Whilst the average crime/population ratio in Europe is about 5,000 serious crimes per 100,000 people, in Cyprus the ratio is only about 1024 serious crimes per 100,000 people. In addition, the detection rate is satisfactory. During the last four years, the detection rate was around 69%, a number which, compared to international standards, can be qualified as satisfactory.
Preventive Measures Taken by Cyprus Police - Cyprus Police participate in Committees which, among other things, are concerned with the welfare and proper social behavior of young persons, children and teenagers.
In particular, the Police participate in the following:
(a) The Council of Criminality.
(b) The Committee for the Protection and Welfare of the Child.
(c) The Advisor Committee for Preventing and Combating Violence in the Family.
(d) The Anti – Drug Council.
(e) The National Committee Against Violence in Football Fields, which undertakes all the necessary actions to prevent/combat violence in athletic fields.
At the same time, the Police have a 24-hour “hotline” for drug users, for providing assistance and information and a “direct line” with the Public. Also, the Police created a web-site which is accessible by the public. Additionally, the Police (criminologists, lawyers, psychologists and sociologists) visit schools regularly, offering lectures regarding drugs and other social problems.
Cyprus Police place special emphasis on Public Relations and cooperation with the Local Authorities. Police officials meet with local representatives to exchange views and ideas regularly in the field of crime prevention. Furthermore, various activities are organized (social, artistic, athletic, recreational etc.) with the participation of the Community (children, teenagers and parents) and the Police. In this context, members of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit and the Police Traffic Department visit various communities regularly, providing lectures regarding drugs and traffic accidents, directed mainly at young people, children and teenagers.
International Cooperation - Cyprus Police sustains close cooperation with international law enforcement organizations, such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL, through the recently established a European Union and International Police Co-operation Directorate. Cyprus Police has seconded Liaison Officers with EUROPOL and INTERPOL. In addition, Cyprus ratified numerous International Conventions and signed a number of bi-lateral Agreements providing for cooperation between the Police or other Government Authorities on matters relating to the prevention and combating of international terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and other forms of serious crime. On 4 July 2003, Cyprus signed a Cooperation Agreement with EUROPOL.
Since November 2002, six Police members participate in the European Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia – Herzegovina and another two Police Officers serve in the PROXIMA, SKOPJE.
Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005