Illness among Portugal’s police forces “spirals”

Portugal’s GNR and PSP police forces have registered a 28% increase in the amount of time taken off for illness and work accidents. Data for 2014 shows agents clocked up 285,000 days of sick leave and another 92,000 for work-related accidents. Unions have said the increase on figures for 2013 is all due to the “effects of an ageing police force and aggressions suffered on the job” which are becoming “more and more violent”.

Breaking figures down even further, police union leader Paulo Rodrigues said almost 630,000 days of service were lost last year, taking parental leave and licence given for other family-related occasions.

Work-related accidents had increased by 59.8% in the PSP, he said – blaming the lack of legislation that obliges the PSP to keep health and safety standards up to scratch.

“No one checks the stations or the patrol cars,” he explained, and agents on motorbikes suffer from lack of adequate equipment.

As to the likelihood of any of these figures being fraudulent, Rodrigues said this is “residual” as agents lose almost half their monthly salary when they take extended sick leave.

What the figures show, he explained, is the need to “rejuvenate” the country’s police forces, as the average age now is 42.1 years in the PSP and 39 in the GNR.

International associations put the “ideal average age” for a police force at 30, writes Correio da Manhã.

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