Polish Police personnel shortages to worsen warn trade unions

Polish Police is facing personnel shortage. Union leaders warn thousands of officers will quit next year, upon attaining retirement benefits, according to “Rzeczpospolita” daily. Police claims the number of policeman will be increased this year.

“These are officers who joined the newly created Police in 1990 and 1991. The first big wave of departure requests will appear at the beginning of the next year and there’s nothing surprising in that. The government does nothing to retain them,” said Andrzej Szary, head of the Wielkopolskie province NSZZ police workers union.

The number of officers in the Police force is already decreasing. Until October 1 this year, 4036 officer quit, while only 3162 were hired.

“Two big hiring waves are coming, comparing data from different months is not honest, especially since we plan to hire some 2,000 policeman more in December, while the most of leaving happens in January and February. So the proportions will change,” said inspektor Mariusz Ciarka, the spokesman for the head of Police,

The drop in the number of officers is a long term problem. In October 2019 there were 94,400 officers, down from 99,938 in 2016.

Trade union says the situation is expected to worsen, as, in the next few years, thousands of officers will attain retirement benefits. They come from an employment surge of 1990-1993, when the communist regime era “Citizens’ Militia” transformed into modern Polish Police. Some 30,000 officers were accepted into the Force at the time, although some of them have already left. Upon serving 28.5 years, policeman are awarded highest possible retirement benefits, equivalent to 75 percent of their wage.

“A significant share of them wants to leave, while the pay raises are guaranteed. They are also tired, burnout. The future is uncertain, since it is possible that due to an economic slowdown, there will be no pay raises in coming years” one of the officers told “Rzeczpospolita” daily.

In Lubuskie province, which has been worst hit by the shortages, 290 police positions are vacant, equivalent to some 11 percent of the planned staff, while in Dolnośląskie province, there are 720 vacancies, 9 percent of the plan.

“We appreciate the programs of promoting the work in Police, the ethos of the uniform. The problem lies in the fact that today, a young person is convinced only by financial impulses, good pay, for which one is able to secure a stable family income, go on holidays, buy a car, repay a loan. The job market has changed,” said Mr Szary.

Good situation on the job market and rising wages discourage may affect people’s willingness to join the Force. According to the Eurostat, unemployment in Poland in September stood at just 3.3 percent. The average wage has risen some 27 percent between 2015 and September of 2019.

Police wages were increased last year, a novice policeman earns nowadays about 72 percent of an average wage.