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Massive sweep of bad cops in the works

Sweeping changes are expected to weed out police corruption following a recent probe, but it seems that not all bad cops will face criminal prosecution.

A 100-page report handed to Attorney General Costas Clerides included shocking revelations of blatant police corruption, which in some cases was putting the lives of other officers at risk.

Investigators unearthed evidence against individual cops who actually worked for the underworld.

In one case, while the investigation was ongoing, a police officer stationed in a key position at Police Headquarters was caught with €1500 in cash.

Based on text messages that were often exchanged between police officers and members of the underworld, as well witness accounts from colleagues, a number of corrupted cops were apprehended and visits to homes belonging to members of the mafia had been identified. In some cases, the bad cops went on those visits using their service vehicle, according to daily Politis.

In other cases, corrupted cops were notifying businesses of impending operations and raids, known as “chew-chew trains” where police would often come empty-handed after criminals got word from their mole. In many cases, SMS text messages were found with specific time, place, date, and even names of officers.

But in some cases, cops were not acting on behalf of the mafia but had at least some knowledge. In many of those cases, police officers are being reassigned duties away from positions where sensitive information is accessible. Others will face disciplinary action but not criminal prosecution.

The investigation revealed that police officers who gathered sensitive information would only pass on what they learned using a unique personal identification number.

The probe later revealed that some officers had never given information while their colleague or superior used their numbers instead of his own. In one case, an officer who had been reassigned, told authorities that it was his superior that used his secret number to pass on information.

The probe was ordered by Clerides following the fiasco with Serbian hitmen and the multiple murders involving Ayia Napa businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis last year.

A three-man commission, put together to include former judge Andreas Paschalides as well as former police officials Panayiotis Pelagias and Agamemnon Demetriou, concluded there was enough evidence against police and prison authority officials to initiate disciplinary or even criminal investigations.

The massive sweep targets both corrupted cops in key positions and people in uniform who either tolerated or helped form inner circles of corruption.

But the attorney general has signalled that the outcome from the probe has a lot of sensitive information, where innocent people and relatives of dead people could possibly be implicated unfairly and they needed to be protected.

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