- Manpower shortages are putting undue pressure on officers with many wanting to move to quieter posts.
Officers who serve in the Vega Baja say they are “saturated” because the region “is failing.” The agents attribute the problem to the lack of police in the region, which they estimate at approximately 200, despite the amount of crime.
According to Civil Guard sources, there are about 60 agents who have are currently waiting for a move. Many more have also applied but their application has not been approved
The Professional Association of the Civil Guard, Jucil, says that work overload is the major reason that officers are moving, due to the reduced workforce. Although officers that leave are usually replaced the numbers stay the same.
In the Callosa de Segura barracks, there will be seven agents leaving this month, although the Government say they will send 14 new civil guards, after pressure from the mayors of the seven municipalities that the callosino barracks serve who are absolutely fed up with the insecurity.
Cristian Martínez, Jucil provincial secretary, says that officers are also fed up and their work is often suffering because, while attending one incident they are often quickly moved to another.
Jucil also criticises the fact that the Ministry counts temporary civil guards who are still learning their duties, as part of the barracks’ establishment, which increases the number of officers in each station. “It is completely unrealistic because newly recruited agents need us to teach them, which means that we have an even bigger workload”, Cristian Martínez complains.
Violent crime is growing in the region. For this reason, the Jucil Professional Association has demanded that the Judicial Police team be increased. Towns across the region continue to grow, but the Judicial Police strength has not changed for 20 years, according to the same sources.
Agents assigned to the region attend all the incidents with absolute professionalism, but they are overwhelmed, and this causes a despair that leads many to ask for a change of location to a more peaceful area.
The Ministry of the Interior is currently considering the closure of police posts with fewer than 25 agents, redeploying them to larger barracks, news that has been well received by the union because they say it will allow better control of manpower and an increase the number of patrols on the streets.