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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Policemen are retiring en masse, most of them are to disappear from the streets of the capital

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From 5.5 to even over 7 thousand officers will retire from the police this year, according to tvn24.pl. Police officers serving in the largest cities, in particular Warsaw, take off their uniform in the largest numbers. – From my perspective, the police are headed for a catastrophe, I do not have the strength to take part in this further – says the officer who has been patrolling the streets of the capital for nineteen years.

We asked the spokesman of the Police Commander-in-Chief, Inspector Mariusz Ciarka, how many police officers have written reports on retirement, but we received the answer that there is no official data yet. The numbers were also not known to commanders from all over the country, who had a meeting this week at the Police Academy in Szczytno.

– We only heard that at the end of the year there were 4,300 vacancies. We only quietly speculated how many policemen would leave this year. We only found out that General Jaroslaw Szymczyk remains: he declared it openly during the meeting – says one of the participants, asking to remain anonymous.

No official data

There are no official data, although the reports themselves must have already been sent to the police personnel departments. Because the superiors have three months to consider the retirement report. And those functionaries who have already acquired retirement rights try to leave in February and March because then they have the possibility of more favorable tax settlement of the severance pay due to them.

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– At the end of November last year, 5,200 officers declared their departure. Later estimates made at the Police Headquarters indicated about 6,000 departures nationwide. We hope that many colleagues will change their minds – says tvn24.pl officer of the police headquarters.

According to our interlocutor, the police headquarters hope that the officers will be persuaded to stay in the service by the latest proposal to raise the Ministry of the Interior and Administration’s wages.

The experienced leave

Another of our interlocutors, also from KGP, is not such an optimist. He estimates that up to 7,000 officers across the country will decide to retire – almost twice as many as every year.

To this must be added the number of vacancies at the end of the year, i.e. 10,000 officers may be missing on a scale. Of course, in the western voivodeships there will be more shortages than in Podkarpacie or Podlasie

Another problem with departures is that the most valuable police officers who have barely passed 15 years of service are leaving en masse. They could and should serve at least ten more years, sharing their experience with the younger ones.

Disaster in the capital

It is known that the most serious situation concerns the largest and most important police garrison, i.e. the capital headquarters. Already today, about 10 percent of the posts are vacant, out of the nearly ten thousand officers that the garrison should have. According to information from RMF FM radio journalists, 850 police officers from the capital city have reported retirement so far, and this number may increase.

– This means that we expect at least 20 percent of vacancies at each station, police station and police station. It will be a really hard year for all of us who will remain in service – says the officer of the capital’s command.

The spokesman for the Warsaw police, Chief Commissioner Sylwester Marczak, argues that the police will do everything to ensure that the inhabitants of the capital do not experience staffing problems firsthand.

We try to adapt the tasks to the needs and our capabilities. We will pay a lot of attention to interventions. The urgent ones have always been and will be the most important for us.

In addition, the main command announces that the police officers from the country will support the officers of the capital command in their daily work.

Why are they leaving?

But why are police officers so en masse deciding to retire this year? According to uniformed trade unionists, financial factors are decisive. In recent years, the government and the Ministry of the Interior, which supervises the uniformed services, have worked out wage increases for the oldest officers and the youngest.

– They did not take care of those who have several years of service. There was no sensible offer for us – says a police officer from the Warsaw Police Department, who has already submitted a report.

As a result of mass protests by police officers in 2017, which were referred to as “dog flu”, police officers actually won raises. However, the best solutions concerned the most experienced officers. This is a solid injection (up to 2.5 thousand a month) for those who will remain in service with over 26 years of service, which is why the policemen themselves refer to it as “grandfather’s” or “balcony”. At the same time, the youngest police officers (under 26) do not have to pay taxes.

– Raises for the rest were eaten up a long time ago by inflation – says tvn24.pl one of the trade unionists.

According to trade unionists, the government, frightened by the number of resignations, adopted a bill on January 10, which is to guarantee every uniformed officer (policeman, firefighter, soldier or service officer) after 15 years of service a five percent increase for each subsequent year in service.

READ: “Law and Justice profanes the uniform of the Polish police.” Comments after the Smolensk monthly.

– It’s just that this election year, a 14 percent increase in pensions is promised. This means that I would have to serve three more years to gain what I will get anyway when I leave at the beginning of March – says our interlocutor from the Warsaw Police Department.

An interview with an officer of the Warsaw Police Headquarters, who is leaving after 19 years of service.

Robert Zielinski: We agreed that we will have this conversation without giving your name and surname, the unit in which you are currently serving.

– Thank you, I can repeat everything with an open visor at the beginning of February, when I’m a pensioner. The police is such a company where superiors will find hundreds of ways to make my life miserable. They have a lot of practice at it.

RZ: You are among at least 850 people who are retiring from the Warsaw police, why such a decision?

– The first main reason is economic. The second is the awareness that the police were already better, there is no chance for improvement and it is heading only towards the bottom, a disaster.

RZ: Let us focus first on the economic arguments.

– It is known that this year there will be a revaluation of pensions, the government has officially announced it. I would have to serve a minimum of three more years to receive such a significant increase in pension, which I will get thanks to the revaluation. That’s a lot of money, because most cops are low-grade, so they serve as scraps. In contrast to officer and managerial positions, where salaries exceed 8,000 per month, ours do not exceed 5,000.

All recent increases have improved the financial lot of privileged groups, not ordinary policemen. Supplements were received by the oldest with more than 23 years of service or the youngest who did not pay taxes until the age of 26. No one thought about those who are on the streets and really care about the safety of citizens. When I leave the police, I will still receive a severance pay, which I will use to pay off part of the loan. This will be a significant relief for me, because the police are killing off interest rate increases. For several years I have also been preparing for this moment, I have an idea for myself in retirement.

RZ: What do you mean when you say the police are going to the bottom?

– Last year I had a whole week of vacation, for which I had to fight with my superiors. This is due to the difficult staffing situation, which has only deteriorated over the last few years. Normally, it should be that after a 12-hour duty I have a rest day. But there is no chance for that, because there are events that require additional staff all the time in the capital. High-risk matches, demonstrations, monthlies, visits. There are so few of us that we are called to serve in part-time prevention subunits. This also ruins the graphics. In this way, the policemen are approached or, more literally, driven over. As a consequence, for example, the streets of Mokotów, a district with a population of 250,000, are patrolled by three police cars instead of nine! That’s why young people are disappearing fast. In my unit, a few appeared in December, and today there is only one left, because they have already felt this treadmill.

RZ: With the departure of another 850 officers, even more duties will fall on the remaining ones…

“Many of us don’t want to be part of it anymore. People with experience who have dealt with difficult situations for years are leaving. And few people know that decisions made during the service, sometimes in fractions of a second, later result in criminal liability, disciplinary liability, and finally, do not have important responsibility for your safety, partner and citizens. I’m aware of all of this, which is why it blows my mind to hear our spokespersons say there are no problems. Although probably from their perspective there are no major problems, because the higher the unit is in the hierarchy, the smaller the number of vacancies.

RZ: I heard that the average number of vacancies in Warsaw’s police stations and police stations will significantly exceed 20 percent.

– At the same time, there is a “super vacancy” at the Police Headquarters, probably 16 more people are employed than there are full-time jobs. And that’s how it goes. There, too, no one thinks about the safety of officers, as evidenced by the fact that there have been no changes in the training and training system. There are hundreds and thousands of clubs where you can learn various martial arts, MMA breaks popularity records. These young people are confronted by officers who learn the techniques of overpowering from the early 1990s, not adapted to current challenges. I have already seen colleagues knocked out by youngsters and I saw that no one at the top is interested. Just like no one asked me or my colleagues why we are leaving in such a wave.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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