Local Police on the warpath

Santa Pola local police protest

Local Police officers from dozens of municipalities are taking action against their town councils, demanding improvements in human and material resources, as they feel increasingly overlooked by their governing bodies, which they say continue to ignore the standards laid down by the Consell.

The Local Police in Apse, which serves more than 20,000 resident, has a total of 36 agents, of which 15 are currently on leave, and where there are 50 disciplinary cases outstanding. In Callosa de Segura, the officers have had to contribute toward the cost of their own bulletproof vests, that they have been demanding for years. In Santa Pola, the unions have denounced the mayor in court for dismissals carried out in front of the Local Police Headquarters.

There are also ongoing problems with the relationship in Torrevieja and a number of other local municipalities, just a few examples of police conflicts from a long list of dozens of municipalities where local agents have taken action and are becoming the main scourge of municipal governments in the final few weeks of the current political term.

The constant lack of material resources which have been demanded by the officers for years; agents without bulletproof vests or without tazer pistols, fleets of old cars that are badly in need of repair or replacement, and an acute shortage of officers in many of the municipalities, which fail to meet the ratio recommended by the European Union, one agent for every 500 inhabitants.

Officers are becoming increasingly despondent, which is leading to a sharp rise in requests for early retirement

To partially alleviate this substantial drop in personnel, at the end of 2018, the Consell introduced express exams that would accelerate the process for new recruits. A month ago, the Valencian Agency for Safety and Response to Emergencies (AVSRE) undertook to further streamline the processes, but only on the requests of town halls. But to date, only “a small number of city councils” have asked for the new procedure to be introduced.