Number of volunteer police officers and candidates increasing ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia's police wants to increase the skills and equipment of its volunteer officers.
Estonia's police wants to increase the skills and equipment of its volunteer officers. Source: (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)

The Police and Border Guard’s assistant police officers are visiting schools around the country this week to introduce their work. Currently the Police and Border Guard (PPA) relies on the help of more than a thousand of these volunteers.

The number of assistant police officers is growing every year. In 2016, 186 people joined, and this year 94 candidates are already waiting to join. The average age is 27, and the number of women among candidates is increasing, PPA’s press spokeswoman, Marie Aava, told ERR on Monday.

According to PPA, in the future there could be one assistant police officer per 1,300 residents. “We are trying to include the existing volunteers more. Already today, one in four assistant police officers is able to work independently. An assistant officer with the skill set to work independently has more rights, and this way can fill their role contributing to security as best as they can. On our side, we want to improve the quality of training and equipment,” PPA’s Varmo Rein said.

The volunteers are put to broad use, and work as part of police patrols as well as in jails and at the airport. They are used in prevention efforts, and for security during large-scale events. Those of them who have the skills and knowledge to act independently can patrol their areas on foot as well as by car.

“This is how security can be ensured in the more remote areas of the counties, where the presence of uniformed personnel and visibility are extremely important,” Rein said, adding that they were working to increase the inclusion of volunteers in local police work as well as in criminal investigations and the work of the Border Guard.

The law that introduced the police’s volunteer officers was passed on Apr. 20, 1994. They are introducing their work between Apr. 17 and 21.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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