Although it has been a historical claim of the Local Police unions for many years, from the 2nd January 2019 it is now about to become a serious problem for many municipalities

The imminent approval by the central government of the new royal decree that will allow the early retirement of local police officers who, on reaching the age of 59, andwho have served for 37 years, will cause local municipalities here in the Alicante Province to lose, in one stroke, more than 200 agents.

Despite being aware of the impending legislation for some time there is no ‘Plan B’, so municipal forces will be required to operate with a shortfall until such time as they can recruit and then train the additional officers, in some cases a couple of years or more.

The cities said to be most affected are Alicante, Elche and Benidorm where there will be a more tangible reduction of local police officers.

In Elche, a total of 40 agents will be eligible for retirement, from a force of 350 while in Alicante the figure is said to be 45 from a total of 580. The situation is rather worse in Benidorm where there are 229 local police officers. Current vacancies number 50 officers, a shortfall of almost 22% of the total establishment. When the Royal Decree is introduced there will be a further 39 officers who are eligible for retirement, 31 directly from 2 January, plus another eight during the course of 2019. This will leave just 190 officers to deal with a population of 66,831 residents but in practice, due to the floating population generated through tourism, 150,000 people during the low season, peaking to half a million in high season, just one agent for every 2,000 people.

In Torrevieja, the Local Police will lose nine of its 165 agents; in Alcoy, 11 of the 120 personnel that make up the workforce could retire; in Elda, seven of 119 and in Orihuela, 12 of 140 policemen.

In order to reduce the effects of this royal decree in terms of traffic, road safety and public safety, many municipalities have been demanding for months that the Generalitat open the door to the appointment of temporary agents , a practice vetoed by the Consell in the new Local Police Coordination Law, approved at the end of last year.

However, just a few days ago, police commanders from across the Community met with the General Director of Security and Emergencies of the Generalitat to demand that he lift the veto, at least temporarily, to lessen the effect that will be caused by the reduction of agents.