The Chief of Orihuela’s Local Police, José María Pomares, hijacked celebrations to the Patron Saint, the Virgin of Monserrate, on Saturday, to warn of the threat to public safety as a result of the ongoing shortage of police officers in the municipality.
In his speech, following presentations and citations to over 20 of his officers, he aimed his comments, not at the mayor, but at the Councillor of Public Safety, Mariola Rocamora, with whom he has had several verbal exchanges in recent months.
The Chief warned that if new agents do not join the Orihuela force “in one year we will have a serious problem” of security. Pomares said that the current staff numbers just 142 agents “and with every year that passes the number reduces”. He criticised the councillor who he said had promised to provide a total of 200 agents, which is what would be needed to ensure security throughout the extensive municipality.
He added that with the introduction of the opportunity to take early retirement next his 142 officers, with an average age of 46 years, will suffer a significant loss, thereby creating even more vacancies.