Police will take a series of measures for the better handling of reported disappearances, the chief’s office said in writing to the House Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committees.
The force has come under fire over their failure to properly look for women and children, who were later found murdered by a suspected serial killer. Friends and relatives who contacted police regarding their search for the missing women were told that they had probably crossed the Green Line.
The chief’s office told the House that police has taken the following measures to avoid the mishandling of disappearances in the future:
- A special unit has been formed to oversee reported disappearances. It will be under the jurisdiction of the combating Domestic Violence department.
- A new protocol on how to handle disappearances has been put in place.
- Police teams have been formed in all cities to examine current cases and identify possible gaps.
- Police will submit suggestions to improve the legal framework around disappearances.
- Further training of officers who work in such cases.
- Officers will examine previous disappearances as case studies.
- The force will study the conclusions of an existing probe into how the disappearances linked to the serial killings were handled.
- Upgrade of existing computer software.
- Strengthening ties with the public and vulnerable population groups in order to aid investigations.
Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou resigned over the serial killings case and former police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou was dismissed by the President.
Police have launched an administrative inquiry into how the cases were handled. Chrysostomou has said if there had been dereliction of duty, those responsible would be held to account.