A deputy police chief has said that his authority's orchestra might be disbanded or at least merged with another, similar organization, following reports that the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) military orchestra is facing cuts.
Janne Pikma, Deputy Director General of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), said that the authority would be proposing to interior minister Kristian Jaani – himself a former police chief – that the orchestra be disbanded or merged with another such group.
"The PPA is in internal discussions in order to find ways of making savings. In order to do this, we are reviewing all our services. There is currently no final list of possible savings. However, redundancy of our orchestra is one of the proposals we are to make to the Ministry of the Interior," Pikma told ERR's online news in Estonian Tuesday.
Other solutions were also possible, he added, including a potential merger with the EDF military orchestra and/or coming under the aegis of the defense ministry or even the city of Tallinn, both solutions touted Tuesday.
On red line which could not be breached was that of wage cuts, Pikma said, however, adding that salaries could not be touched. "Our firm goal is that the salaries of police officers must increase. Otherwise, we simply do not have the personnel who can provide the necessary services."
Reports that savings of around €1.4 million could be had in disbanding the EDF's military orchestra noted that this came in the form of operational costs, rather than defense investments, which are to be left untouched. The government has said it wants to find savings of around €10 million in the defense sphere.
The PPA's own orchestra numbers 34 professional musicians, with an annual budget of about half-a-million euros, Pikma said.
Discussions were ongoing with the orchestra, Pikma added.
No state support is provided for the orchestra, whose wages and other costs derive from the same source as the rest of the PPA's operational costs, he said.
Scaling back various services might be another way of making savings, the police deputy chief went on.
Editor: Andrew Whyte