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Estonian police needs €12.6 million to update technical equipment

Armed Estonian police officers. Photo is illustrative.
Armed Estonian police officers. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) needs nearly €12.6 million next year to update its technical equipment, but according to Director General Elmar Vaher, there are currently no such funds in the budget.

The PPA needs €2.184 million of additional funds next year which would be used, for instance, to cover the shortage in the catering funds of detention houses and centers, provide translation services, update traffic supervision equipment as well as purchase security cameras and servers.

Around €2.8 million are needed next year to update essential equipment, uniforms, weaponry and safety equipment.

An additional €1.67 million are needed too renovate PPA vessels and aircraft, while €752,000 is need to upgrade the law enforcement agency's surveillance and cyber investigation capacity.

The PPA would need €4.35 million to developed smart solutions, including creating an automatic biometric identification system, further develop e-police services and equip mobile unit cars with an autonomous surveillance device.

PPA to hire 45 additional regional police

The PPA is planning on increasing the number of regional police officers by 45 as well as substantially increasing the capabilities of its rapid response officers.

According to Vaher, an additional €21.5 million have been allocated for implementing planned changes over three years and this sum should cover the cost of hiring new employees at current police officer salary levels.

While the current total number of regional officers is 126, in the next three years, that number is to increase to 171. In the same period of time, the number of rapid response officers is to double to 150, with units established in regions where they previously did not exist.

"For the PPA this is the first opportunity in years to increase capacity without reducing other capacities," Vaher said, adding, however, that in a situation where a pay increase for police officers is nowhere to be seen yet, there may be a problem with finding quality labor.

According to the director general, the PPA will increase the number of regional police officers primarily in rural areas, with the goal of every local government having at least one regional officer of its own.

"We will increase the number of rapid response officers by 75 and that, together with equipment purchasing and training, would cost €15.5 million over four years," he explained.

Accorrding to Vaher, the annual cost per rapid response officer is €24,000 and their equipment €30,000 during the first year of employment, with respective costs decreasing to €24,000 and €12,000 in subsequent years.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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