AKEL on the government measures to combat organised crime and fan violence
23 January 2024, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
In relation to the measures announced yesterday to tackle fan violence and organised crime, we note the following:
● Just like the previous Government, whenever a problem arises, instead of addressing it head-on, the current Government simply limits itself to issuing announcements.
● Yesterday, the Government announced the same measures for the third time with regard to violence in stadiums. With regard to organised crime, it announced a plan to deal with it a few months ago through press reports. To date, its fate remains unclear.
● Tackling violence and crime also depends on the operational capacity of the police. This was largely eroded by the previous administration, which pushed aside and sidelined competent members of the police force and gave key positions to unqualified cronies. Proof of this is the slew of cases of promotions in the Police Force that were subsequently overturned in the Courts.
● As far as the measures against violence in football stadiums are concerned, we must note that they promote all-powering police rule, while several of them are at variance with the letter of the law and others are practically impossible to implement. And the Fan Card, which was presented in previous years as a panacea for dealing with fan hooliganism, turned out to be an ineffective and problematic measure.
● The end results prove that measures and plans have been left on paper with the underworld operating undisturbed in residential areas in broad daylight, with violence and crime on the rise. We hope that the Government will not limit itself to engaging in the communication management of the issue as it normally does.
We urge the Government to focus primarily on prevention policies in the area of fan violence and to at long last draw up a specific strategy to combat organised crime, making use of the competent and honest members of the police force, which must be strengthened and make use of the legislative possibilities available to it to combat crime.

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