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Personnel crisis in the police, there is a shortage of policemen. The ministry wants to lower the criteria – regulation

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There may be a shortage of almost 20,000 policemen in the spring, mainly on the streets of the five largest Polish cities – police trade unions warn. Fighting the personnel crisis, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared a draft regulation thanks to which it wants to open the doors to police retirees, who will no longer be disqualified from having a heart attack, being overweight or having glaucoma before putting on their uniform again. Trade unions do not agree to such lowering of criteria.

The seriousness of the situation in the police is demonstrated by the fact that the deputy minister, Czesław Mroczek, who supervises this formation, consistently used the term “personnel crisis” at the meeting of the parliamentary committee on internal affairs, which took place on February 7.

– The information (about the staffing level – editor’s note) confirms a serious crisis related to the decline in credibility and social trust – this is how Mroczek began his speech to the MPs. It indicated that it was falling confetti from a helicopterthe use of hundreds and thousands of policemen to protect monthly anniversaries or party meetings effectively discouraged young people from putting on uniforms.

The data he presented showed that “on paper” there are almost 109,000 Polish policemen. However, at the beginning of this year, as many as 10,411 positions remained “unfilled”, which constituted 9.72%. general.

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However, tvn24.pl journalists obtained the latest “report on the state of police personnel”, which already includes data from January and February. It shows that since the beginning of the year the number of “vacancies” has rapidly increased to 12,885, which already constitutes 11.83%.

Personnel status as of February 1, 2024

– I would like to be wrong, but it may soon turn out that there will be a shortage of almost 20,000 policemen. This will be a situation that will pose a real threat to the safety of Poles – warns junior inspector Andrzej Szary, deputy head of the main board of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union of Policemen.

March escape

The deputy chairman is concerned about the fact that police officers most often become pensioners only at the beginning of March. Because it is a favorable term for tax reasons. Additionally, when they leave in March, they can count on a salary increase, from which the amount is calculated pensionsand immediately afterwards for the indexation of the pension.

This is also evidenced by the numbers from last year, when the exodus from the police began.

READ ALSO: The government is trying to stop the exodus of soldiers, policemen and service officers

The data available to the tvn24.pl editorial team shows that while 1,043 police officers retired by February 1, 2023, a month later the number increased to 7,595, and at the end of the year it reached a record number since the beginning of the police’s existence, i.e. 9,458. If these the same proportions will be repeated this year, about six thousand policemen will leave, which means there will be a shortage of about 20,000 officers on the streets.

The capital is the worst

As junior inspector Andrzej Szary notes, the greatest deficiencies concern five police garrisons: the capital garrison (20.04%), Lower Silesia (12.58%), Łódź (11.25%), Silesia (10.51%) and West Pomeranian Voivodeship (10%).

– The declining image of the police in recent years, the cost of living and housing in the largest cities and the fact that today there is an employee’s market, not an employer’s market. The police in these centers are no longer a competitive workplace and solutions need to be urgently sought – says junior inspector Andrzej Szary.

Already last year, we informed that there are nights when the streets of the capital Mokotów are patrolled by one police car instead of seven that should be deployed.

– If last year’s exodus repeats, some units in the capital will not have more than 40 percent staff. A disaster that we will all feel first hand – says tvn24.pl, an experienced officer of the capital’s police headquarters.

The best situation is in the Podkarpackie garrison (2.72% of vacancies) or the Świętokrzyskie garrison, where there are “only” 5.21% of vacancies.

Barrier at the psychologist

The declarations of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs show that a plan is being prepared to help attract young people to the ranks of the police. This will be achieved through the “depoliticization” of the formation, 20% salary increases, as well as a number of projects that will facilitate the recruitment of young people.

At the parliamentary committee on internal affairs, the acting Chief of Police, Marek Boroń, informed that candidates most often fail psychological tests (up to 39%) and physical fitness tests (up to 24%). They cope much better with the other two elements of recruitment, which are medical examinations and job interviews.

– We want the fitness exam organized in uniformed classes to count as our tests. This would make admissions easier and significantly faster, Boroń said.

Uniform for the obese and visually impaired

The Ministry of Internal Affairs also wants to significantly facilitate the return to service of those police officers who have decided to retire from uniformed services in recent years. The idea is to lower the health criteria in the currently reviewed draft regulation “on the list of diseases and disabilities, along with the categories of ability to serve in the Police, Border Guard, Marshal’s Guard, State Fire Service and State Protection Service.” Under the project, officers who are severely obese, visually impaired, have nystagmus or have had a heart attack will be able to return to duty.

Draft regulation of the Ministry of Interior and Administration

“The update of medical criteria in the amended regulation is important from the point of view of the correctness of the medical nomenclature used, as well as the impact of the criteria on the assessment of fitness for service. Progress in medicine implies more effective treatment methods, often enabling the recovery of full fitness in a shorter time, which translates into regaining full fitness. for service,” we read in the justification for the draft regulation. “(…) This is very visible, for example, in the group of cardiovascular diseases, where a heart attack once excluded an officer’s further service, but today, with proper treatment, a quick return to service is possible. Therefore, it is rational to make an amendment in this respect.”

– Lowering the criteria so significantly is not the right way to improve the staffing situation. The unions are likely to give a negative opinion on the ministry’s project – we heard unanimously from the unions in the State Fire Service and the police.

Author:Robert Zieliński

Main photo source: DarSzach / Shutterstock.com

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