The head of the police force's North Prefecture, Kristian Jaani, said that a growing number of police patrols only have one professional officer, accompanied by an unarmed assistant policeman. The situation decreases capability, he said.
Speaking to Postimees today, Jaani said that 77 more people left the North Prefecture last year than joined, and the prefecture have been able to keep the number of patrols at a satisfactory level only due to assistant policemen, who can only carry firearms if they have acquired necessary documents, which only few have done.
Jaani said that problems may arise if police get into firefights - albeit highly unlikely to this point in Estonia - as patrols which have an assistant policemen can not be called for help, and if a sudden-attack happens, the professional officer will also have to protect the assistant.
Assistant police officers do not receive pay, and have to complete physical tests when joining the force.