30 New Officers Join Sovereign Base Areas Police Force In Cyprus

The newest recruits have been whittled down from over 500 applicants.

The Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) police force has taken on 30 new constables to police British military bases in Cyprus.

After opening up recruitment last year, the SBA police received more than 500 applications.

Following months of interviews, fitness tests and aptitude assessments, 30 men and women were selected.

The first 15 recruits have already started their training in Dhekelia for what some say is one of the most unique police forces anywhere in the world.

Formed in 1960, as part of the Treaty of Establishment, the SBA police force now covers the two sovereign base areas still under British control in Cyprus.

Its chiefs and divisional commanders are British, but all of the other officers are Cypriot.

Deputy Chief Constable Jon Ward, from Sovereign Base Areas Police, said: "We are effectively the police force that covers the, roughly, 98 square-miles that makes up the two sovereign base areas.

"To prove sovereignty one of the elements we must have is our own police force to enable to execute our own laws within the sovereign base areas," he added.

SBA officers in the classroom
The SBA Police has 241 officers.

The force is one of the few organisations on the island where both Greek and Turkish Cypriots work side by side.

Twenty-eight-year-old recruit, Chara Iosif told Forces News the bi-communal makeup of the force factored into her reasons for applying.

“I’ve was always open to meeting these people - some were between our ages," she said.

"They have their own experiences.

We are very pleased to share our opinions and listen to their stories to know both sides."

PC Hilmi Onsoy, a Turkish Cypriot applicant who has been recruited, said his father is "very proud" that he got into the force - his father served in the SBA police for 18 years.

"He's always saying to me that the police is a challenging occupation, where you have to deal with problems every day," he said.

"You have to be ready."

After a few months in the classroom, the new recruits will be assigned to police stations across the SBA as probationers. 

After two years, they will pass out as fully-fledged SBA police officers.