Attitudes to the police and policing in contemporary Cyprus with particular reference to the dark figure of crime

Hadjidemetriou, Michael (1995) Attitudes to the police and policing in contemporary Cyprus with particular reference to the dark figure of crime. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (16MB) | Preview


Cyprus suffered lanomiel on a grand scale more than twenty years ago, on account of the Turkish invasion of 1974. The effects on the social structure of Cypriot society were devastating. Most of the collective conscience which was responsible for the social order was disrupted. Inevitably, the traditional means of social control which depended primarily on informal social networks and the creation of a collective order were replaced by formal policing. This thesis attempts to offer an empirical account of the above social changes and the resultant changes in the modes of policing; and how Cypriot-society has replaced the lost collective conscience with alternative but complementary means of social control.

High police density, strong social associations and the strength of kinship have contributed to the acceptance of the police and policing methods. Simultaneously, the public, through the social development of new social norms and moral codes, have determined the form and role of the police in Cypriot society. The partial destruction of the existing social contract and the inevitable development of anomie have introduced new parameters in deviancy and the process of social control in Cyprus. The new cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of Cyprus reflect the patterns and distribution of criminality.

By and large, Cypriots do not report crimes and victimization to the authorities because they view cases as not just 'trivial' but also as something which could implicate them socially and personally. That is to say, despite the upheaval and social change which followed the 1974 invasion, there is still a very strong norm (which binds people together) about respect and self-esteem. By reporting, they fear that they will be stigmatized for life. They will 'cover-up, crimes rather than expose themselves as victims. In essence, triviality' acts as a defence mechanism which neutralizes police involvement in affairs relating to the issue of social order. Police rejection is mostly observed when victimization refers to crimes against the person. Society tolerates certain forms of criminality for the sake of conformity to certain social norms and moral codes.

As a consequence, the dark figure of crime is much higher for offences against the person. Because society sanctions tolerance towards certain forms of crime, victims are prevented from reporting because they consider the police as part of the control apparatus which contributes to the perpetuation of stigmatization.

The Cypriot's perception of the amount and patterns of criminality is distorted on account of the influence of the media and rumour. Fear of crime evolves from the wrong perception of criminality rather than experience. Because fear is unjustifiable, the public feels insecure and redefines the structure of the social contract. In effect, this threatens further the collective conscience and the traditional methods of social control.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 6881
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2011 13:18
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 03:20

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.