Cyprus Military Police
|Cyprus Military Police
Kypriaki Stratiotiki Astinomia
Κυπριακή Στρατιωτική Αστυνομία
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
In 1880, the British colonial administration of Cyprus created a Gendarmerie force, the Cyprus Military Police (CMP). Popularly known as zaptiehs (from Ottoman Turkish for "policeman" and the force the CMP replaced), this body numbered about 700 men, organised in both mounted and foot units. The force's personnel were predominantly drawn from the minority Turkish Cypriot population, although prior to 1914 about a third were Greek Cypriots. The eight most senior officer positions were normally filled by secondment from the British Army. While trained to undertake some police duties, the force had an essentially military character. Mounted zaptiehs, armed with carbines and sabres, were portrayed in contemporary illustrations patrolling rural roads in twos.
A detachment of mounted zaptiehs participated in Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations of 1897, where their fezes and blue and scarlet zouave-style jackets attracted much attention. The role and recruitment basis of the zaptiehs remained essentially unchanged until, in 1935, the Cyprus Military Police lost their quasi-military role and were reorganised as the civilian "Cyprus Police Force". Seconded Army officers were subsequently replaced by inspectors and commissioners appointed from British and other colonial police forces.