THE financial crisis has forced the Spanish government to reduce the number of National Police and Guardia Civil officers.
There are 2,537 fewer National Police officers in Spain since January 2012, and the number of Guardia Civil officers has decreased by 2,000 people.
Altogether, both forces have shrunk by 3 per cent in two years.
This is according to both forces’ internal censuses.
And the fall in numbers will continue over the next few years as there will be more officers retiring than joining the forces, police unions have said.
In 2009, 4,307 posts were advertised in both the National Police and the Guardia Civil.
Only 324 posts were offered in 2013.
For 2014, the Spanish government plans to freeze this figure and keep a replacement rate of 10 per cent.
This means only 10 officers out of every 100 retiring next year will be replaced.
“The future can be worse,” sources at SUP, the main police union, stated.
“In 10 years we’ll have 20,000 police officers fewer, something that will weaken street safety. Meanwhile, sources at the National Police Directorate claim they are working to optimise resources.
They claim there are an average of 688 police patrols on the streets today, while in 2012 this figure was 637.