|Honourable Attorney General of the Republic of Cyprus,
Honourable President of the Cyprus Judges’ Association, representative of the president of the Supreme Court,
Honourable President of the Nicosia District Court,
Rector of the University of Cyprus,
Professors David Farrington and Andreas Kapardis,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to make an opening speech at this book launch ceremony. The edited work of two renowned academics, namely Andreas Kapardis and David Farrington, whose immense contribution to forensic psychology and criminology needs no references, and the wisely selected studies which comprise the book, render its content very useful for both academics and practitioners, involved in the criminal justice domain.
The book has a tripartite thematic scheme: the analysis of specific types of crime and crime decline, the delineation of particular interviewing techniques, and the exploration of specific impediments during the adjudication of court cases.
At the very outset, the book embarks upon accentuating the intergenerational transmission of criminality in the UK, followed by an assessment of various hypotheses on crime diminution and their applicability within the European sphere. Furthermore, as the book unfolds, the reader comes across the conundrums of school bullying, the psychopathy and its linkage to criminality, the police interviewing techniques, the psychophysiological detection of lies, the wrongful conviction of innocent people, the extra-legal elements that influence the judiciary, and the like. Importantly, these very topics are being analysed and explored by the book’s contributors, whose point of vantage span across many shapes, colours, and forms.
No doubt, the findings of the corpus of studies that comprise the book, are aligned with the depth and breadth of police work. Interestingly enough, most of the times, I must admit, the findings transcend borders and appear to be in accordance with cognate phenomena that occur within the Cypriot milieu. For instance, in chapter two, where the crime drop is elaborated, the case of Cyprus fits seamlessly in the general tendency of crime reduction, as from 2011 and onwards, we have been experiencing a progressive, yet steady, decrease in serious crime that amounts up to 39%. Moreover, in chapter three, as regards the phenomenon of school bullying and its connection to later offending, it is very useful to the Police to know which individual and social factors determine criminality later in life. However, the most important lesson for us, the official social control agents, is the usefulness of adhering to prompt and targeted interventions. As emphasised in the chapter, the strengthening of particular protective factors at an early stage, before or even during the manifestation of school bullying, is catalytic in breaking the path to criminality. Such being the case, the Police ought to act synergistically with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Education and the Social Welfare Services, and predicate common intervention programmes. On the part of the Police, we have long recognised the importance of proactive policing and, thus, have invested in a series of community-oriented policing strategies, whose focal area rests upon the incorporation of civil society in the esoteric matters of policing. That is, the involvement of citizens in the collective effort of effectively dealing with crime via a people-centred approach, in which the citizens, alongside the police, set the priorities, depict the vulnerabilities, and aid in the construction and implementation of the appropriate remedies.
On another note, findings bring to the fore interesting facts, which, admittedly, are not often contemplated, much less problematized, by the Cyprus Police. A case in point is the police interrogation techniques and how they may produce false confessions. Rightly, as noted in chapter ten, young people, individuals with low IQ, and those suffering from a mental illness are more likely to give a false confession to the police. Such being the case, the Police investigators must be attentive, adequately trained, and well-supervised, so to avoid ensuing miscarriages of justice.
Along with this line of thinking, the Cyprus Police invigorates its efforts to set higher standards as regards police training and, thus, equip its members with all the necessary tools for carrying out their multifarious and exigent duties effectively, impartially, and professionally.
More to the point, the Cyprus Police undertakes all necessary action to keep abreast with all the challenges and, at the same time, opportunities which arise in all post-modern societies in today’s globalised world. For instance, in order to effectively detect, investigate, and prosecute the covert criminality whose occurrence happens to be in the deep and dark web, or the type of organised crime which lies behind many layers of legitimate operations, we cannot simply rely on mere vigilance and devotion, as it was the case in erstwhile times, but we must base our actions on targeted training, usage of top-notch technology, and sharp agents who work tirelessly around the clock. This, seen via a broader point of view, falls under the general objectives of the Cyprus Police; that is knowledge-based and smart policing, where policing is conducted upon gathering accurate information and intelligence, with the use of technology, in a concerted, targeted, and reflective manner.
My digression intended bringing to the surface the vitality of knowledge generated by scholarly endeavours, like the one hereby presented, in all the fields and levels of policing. Ladies and gentlemen, apocryphal or not, policing in the 21st century is faced with unprecedented challenges, which can only be met upon meticulously enforcing educated decisions.
That said, I am convinced that this book, luciferous as it is, will complement the reservoir of valuable texts and handbooks, dedicated to constructing applied knowledge in the realm of criminal justice in general, and policing in particular.
Lastly, I would like to extend my wishes to all those who contributed to this publication, to keep enriching the extant literature with their scholarly work, for the field of policing is, more than ever before, in great need of empirically-based academic knowledge and reflection.