Special bill to hire police for buffer zone patrol

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The government has tabled a bill before parliament with which the Chief of Police can hire 300 special police officers for 18 months to stem rising migrant flows from the breakaway north.

The bill has already been approved by the Cabinet and is expected to be passed by the House in the coming weeks.

According to a commentary accompanying the bill, recruits must have completed or legally relieved of their military service.

The legislation aims to enable the police to hire special constables on a contract basis to provide the force with immediate and timely auxiliary support.

The contracted special police officers will perform auxiliary and supportive tasks such as:

  • patrolling and/or monitoring possible crossing points for illegal migrants along the buffer zone
  • checking migrants, helping the timely detection of any traffickers or terrorists
  • support in the transportation, escort of irregular migrants
  • guarding reception centres or detention facilities for irregular migrants
  • helping with the deportation process of irregular migrants

The remuneration, working hours, and leave with or without pay of the contracted special police officers will be determined by the Cabinet and included in the announcement of positions.

Meanwhile, Cyprus is also preparing to deploy a €27 mln Israeli surveillance system along the buffer zone by the end of August.

Government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said Cyprus is “duty-bound” to find solutions in coordination with the EU.

He said that 5% of Cyprus’ population are asylum-seekers – five times the EU average – while the country has the highest number of asylum applications per capita in the 27-country bloc.

Nicosia blames migrant flows on Turkey’s attempts to instrumentalise migration, aiming to demographically alter the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.

In the first three months of the year, 4,900 (95%) out of 5,066 asylum seekers arrived through the buffer zone.