Country Listing

Cyprus Table of Contents




Portion of the green Line, the line dividing Nicosia
Courtesy Embassy of Cyprus, Washington

The police system, like the armed forces, was split along communal lines. The 1960 constitution called for two police organizations: an urban police force, to be commanded by a Greek Cypriot, and a rural police force, or gendarmerie, to be commanded by a Turkish Cypriot. The constitutional system broke down after the Christmas crisis of 1963, and each community subsequently provided its own police. The Turkish Cypriot police was originally an arm of the paramilitary TMT; after 1974 it operated under the Turkish Cypriot Security Force, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense and the Ministry of the Interior of the Turkish Cypriot administration in the north. New legislation in 1984 redefined its structure, but it continued to be accountable to the commander of the Turkish Cypriot Security Force.

The Cyprus Police Force, in contrast, was a force organizationally and operationally separate from the National Guard, within the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus. After 1963 the police of the government of Cyprus assumed no responsibility for the Turkish Cypriot community (in 1973 the force of over 3,000 contained only one Turkish Cypriot), so that the de facto partition of the island after 1974 meant only a reduction in the amount of territory for which the police were responsible. The Greek Cypriot police force rose in strength from 2,550 in 1969 to 3,500 in 1978, and to 3,700 in 1989.

Data as of January 1991