Advice by prime minister António Costa that citizens could avoid the worst of the budget by “using public transport” is now weighing heavily on the country’s PSP police force, which has seen its fuel allowance for 2016 slashed by half.
As union boss Peixoto Rodrigues has commented, if patrol cars run out of petrol, “agents may have to go out on foot”.
It is the reality of “selective austerity” present in the new government’s budget which leader writers say people are only just cottoning onto – and it suggests “something is profoundly wrong” with the so-called “politics of patriotism”.
“When all is said and done, how far can the police go,” questions Correio da Manhã editor Leonardo Ralha.
The answer seems to be as far as their fuel allowance will take them.
According to CM, this translates into €495 per police vehicle for 12 months (as opposed to 2015’s allowance for the force’s 4,851 vehicles of €1,010).
The PSP has not commented officially on the news, but sources have told CM this will mean “profound alterations” to patrol schedules that even so may see agents resorting to shank’s pony.
Also cut has been the force’s “munitions and explosives budget”, says CM – though not by anything like as much.
This year, the PSP will have 248,000 euros to spend on the purchase of bullets and explosives, while last year it had 291,000 euros, says the paper – adding that “a government source” has said that there is a “reserve budget” available, “which can be used in the case of necessity”.