No joy, no answers for police: Photo: PAULO CUNHA/LUSA

PM’s response to protesting police “provides no answers”

PM focused on ‘possibility’ of police protests affecting elections

The platform of PSP and GNR associations and syndicates has reacted in a degree of mystification at the ‘response’ to their letter sent to prime minister António Costa on Saturday.

The letter alerted to the “extreme situation” affecting the two police forces, warning of a possible “extreme position” if the government continued with its “lack of response”.

Far from opening the door to any kind of ‘answers’, however, the PM seemed to focus on the possibility that police actions might jeopardise the normal holding of the next elections, stressing this would be “a serious act of betrayal of democracy”.

The whole subject of police action affecting the elections was never meant to be this serious. SINAPOL union boss Armando Ferreira has stressed that he simply said it was “a possibility” that elections could be affected if things continued in this vein – in which police demands for treatment equal to that of their colleagues in the PJ did not elicit any kind of dignified response – which today has been the case.

Said Bruno Pereira, spokesman for the union platform, and leader of the national union of police offiers: “We can’t understand how (the PM) doesn’t foresee the negative impact of this order (meaning the order giving PJ police a mission supplement but excluding all other security forces) and doesn’t assume that he has created an injustice that is difficult to understand.” 

As reports admit, police have been fighting for several weeks now for a ‘mission supplement’ (a form of risk allowance), pay rises and better working conditions. “But the caretaker government has shielded itself with the argument that it is limited and does not have “constitutional and political legitimacy to take decisions that imply new ordinary and permanent expenses”, explains SIC.

In this sense, any negotiations will have to be carried out by the new government, formed after the March 10 elections. 

Even before these latest protests, President Marcelo referred to what he called the “justifiable dissatisfaction” of police over unequal treatment meted out by the government “drawing the attention of the government that will come in after the next legislative elections” to sort the issue out, once and for all.

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