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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Warsaw. Staff shortages, equipment and uniform shortages. Disturbing audit results at the Police Headquarters

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This is the lowest employment level recorded in the last decade – warns the Police Headquarters, which conducted an internal audit. There are more worrying conclusions: insufficient equipment, shortages in uniforms, and too slow Internet connections that make it impossible to transmit video files.

We reported on tvn24.pl about the rapidly growing number of vacancies in the Polish police in mid-February. The portal's 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%.

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.

Staff shortages

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Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Police Headquarters published a presentation from the inspection that was carried out at this headquarters since the beginning of the year – on the order of its head, Inspector Marek Boroń. The audit was intended to determine the state of the formation and the challenges it faces.

The presentation published on the KGP website shows that last year's employment in the police amounted to 96,716 people (full-time employment was 107,109). This is the lowest number of officers in the last 10 years. For comparison, a year earlier the employment level was 101,000 officers (with the full-time equivalent of 105,309).

“Currently, there is not only a lack of candidates for service, but there are also difficulties in recruiting officers and employees with specialist knowledge. The analysis also shows that a higher percentage of vacancies and greater problems with recruitment to service occur in the organizational units of the Police on the western border of the country than on the Polish side. eastern. This is related to direct, easy access to the Western European labor market and the possibility of obtaining higher income,” said the National Police Headquarters.

She added that staff shortages result primarily in a smaller number of police officers sent to duty, longer response times to incidents, longer deadlines for carrying out official duties and a decline in the quality of tasks performed.

Staff shortages in the Polish PoliceTVN24

There will be a change in the regulations

“Not without significance are also the departures from service of relatively young but experienced policemen, who would often like to return to the service after some time, constituting a significant strengthening of it. To solve this problem, work has already started on amending the provisions of the Police Act,” the Police Headquarters reported. .

She emphasized that the aim is to increase the effectiveness of qualification procedures for police service and to create the possibility of recruiting a larger number of candidates meeting the needs of the service, including former officers of this formation.

The draft amendment to the Act amending the Police Act, the Education Law Act and the Act on the Financing of Educational Tasks was submitted for consultation at the end of March.

Shortages of equipment and uniforms

The inspection also revealed deficiencies in police equipment and uniforms, including: shortages of body-worn cameras, electric stun guns, weapons, mobile wearable terminals (MTN) and equipment for compact units.

The National Police Headquarters informed that shortages and “a high degree of wear and tear occur in transport equipment – boats and company vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as in office equipment, IT equipment and devices for detecting and identifying dangerous substances.”

The audit also showed the insufficient condition of infrastructure in places of service and insufficient space and number of rooms meeting formal requirements for storing archives or material evidence.

There was also underfinancing for the purchase of tools related to, among others, ensuring cybersecurity, incompatibility of the hardware and software systems used. Another challenge – as written – is the lack of expansion of classified ICT systems in police stations and the unavailability of programs to perform official tasks, as well as too slow Internet connections that make it impossible to send video files.

Training problems

The auditors also found an insufficient number of places in police schools compared to the actual training needs.

“The lack of sports rooms and facilities in local police units for conducting classes on intervention techniques and tactics, as well as the low attractiveness of training as part of local professional development, using their own human resources,” is also a challenge, it was reported.

This results in limited opportunities for promotion and professional development of police officers and formation employees as well as reduced physical fitness of officers.

Moreover, the audit showed that the employment structure was not adjusted to the needs arising from new tasks and duties related to, among others, urban development.

Increasing transparency

The auditors also noted a decline in public trust, an insufficient number of preventive and promotional materials, and “shaping a negative image of the formation in the media.”

“This translates into an increase in social dissatisfaction and disapproval of the Police's actions, a reduction in the number of people willing to join the service and the transition to retirement benefits for Police officers,” it was noted.

The audit was also supposed to indicate cases of cessation of cooperation with the formation by external contractors or the reluctance of the public to cooperate with the police, “as well as unattractive police promotional stands and preventive lessons.”

The National Police Headquarters informed that its substantive units are working on solutions that will lead, among others, to: to increase the transparency of the tasks performed, openness to cooperation with external entities with expert knowledge and experience in areas relating to the statutory tasks of the police and conducting a more effective media policy.

Moreover, officers are to be expected by their superiors to present high ethical standards both in relations within the formation and in contacts with society. Police officers are also supposed to show greater empathy and understanding of society's problems and help solve them.

Methods of training and professional development are to be modified, and the rules of promotion and career paths are to be transparent. The KGP is also working on the effective replenishment of material and technical equipment

Main photo source: DarSzach/Shutterstock

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