Anastassiades analysed his proposals on public safety and migration, as part of a number of thematic dialogues he has launched with the public ahead of the presidential elections next February.
Restructuring the police force was top of the DISY candidate’s list, with some of his proposals including a change in the force’s administrative structure and the decentralisation of authority, as well as an upgrade to police training and expertise.
“The police headquarters will act solely as headquarters and as a coordinating body,” Anastassiades said, adding that local headquarters would have full responsibility for policing their districts.
He also plans to change the fact that transfers, appointments and promotions in the force are done with the participation of the justice minister.
To ensure full transparency, he proposed the creation of an independent internal affairs department, which he said would help restore the public’s trust.
Anastassiades’ proposals to tackle crime include offering incentives for people to provide the police with information, and lifting personal data laws to allow the opening of bank accounts to investigate matters of corruption.
Drug abuse, he added, should be tackled with the creation of regional advisory centres accessible to users and relatives alike, as well as an increase and upgrade of rehabilitation centres – among others.
To deal with teen delinquents, Anastassiades proposed the development of youth protection programmes, the creation of a special court to deal with violations by minors and the establishment of counselling services.
Regarding migration, Anastassiades proposed an investigation into the number of legal migrants Cyprus can handle and a reassessment of the professions that third-country nationals have access too.
Illegal migration, he said “contributes to maintaining social inequalities…creating problems of insecurity and xenophobia”.
To deal with the phenomenon, Anastassiades suggests – among others – that the state revises its benefits’ policy, which he said was today operating as an “attraction incentive” for immigrants and asylum seekers, and has proved to be problematic.
He also proposed steep penalties to deter employers who illegally employ third-country nationals.
By Jacqueline Agathocleous