Public complaints against the police force increased by 23% in 2018, while authorities are confident that the findings of the same survey indicate there is an improvement in the way officers behave.
Andreas Paschalides, President of the Independent Police Complaints Authority, which looks into complaints against police officers presented his annual 2018 report to Justice Minister George Savvides on Monday.
Paschalides said in 2018, 287 complaints were filed, of which 104 were investigated by criminal investigators. The total number of complaints increased by 23% compared to 2017.
The fact that just 104 out of 287 were investigated does not mean the rest were ignored. He said that these complaints were examined, with initial investigations not justifying the appointment of a criminal investigator.
Out of the 104 complaints investigated, disciplinary action against police officers was taken in five cases, while three have been brought before a court with police officers facing criminal charges.
The complaints concern issues such as the use of unnecessary violence, inappropriate behaviour, the abuse of power, negligence, indifference, and failure to act within a reasonable timeframe.
Nevertheless, both the Minister and head of the authority noted a significant improvement in police behaviour towards citizens.
Savvides said the Authority is shouldered with an important task and aims to help improve the quality of services offered by the Police while providing a platform for citizens to report cases of corruption, human rights violations or general issues related to possible misconduct.
Savvides welcomed comments by Paschalides who claimed that “there has been a serious improvement in the behaviour of the Police towards citizens, which is in line with the instructions given by the leadership as well and the Ministry.”
Paschalides also said that police have made an improvement in the way they deal with complaints.
The police came under fire this year for not acting quickly enough to prevent a serial killer claiming seven lives, all his victims were foreign women and their children.