Because some 1,000 police officers are about to reach retirement age, Estonia will need to substantially increase the number of officers educated at the Academy of Security Sciences.
On Wednesday 45 new police and border guard officers graduated from the academy's Paikuse college. According to ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast, this year's graduates will be the last to finish their courses separately, as the academy is switching to a system of basic instruction that will cover both the police as well as the border guard's requirements.
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) depends on increasing the profile of its jobs, as over the next three to four years up to a quarter of the current force will reach retirement age. Those who joined in the 90s are now approaching 50, which means they are entitled to early retirement if they so choose.
Though this doesn't come as a surprise to the Academy of Security Sciences, it still is a formidable challenge. According to the director of the school's police and border guard college, Kalvi Almosen, the situation means a lot of pressure to educate a substantially higher number of officers.
"We're switching to basic training that no longer makes a difference between police and border guard officers," Almosen told ERR. "Our basic training leaves it to the students to choose between the police and the border guard. We also offer distance learning courses and will accept students that already have a higher education," she added.
In the current market young people had a great variety of options to choose from, which makes it necessary to introduce the jobs of police and border guard officers to a broader audience. If the state needs new officers, these needed to be found and educated, Almosen said.
According to the school's rector, Katri Raik, their approach to instruction also needs to change according to the state's needs. Where there aren't enough youngsters interested, courses would be opened up to those as well who consider becoming an officer as a second or third education, Raik said.
"Every year we need a few hundred new officers, which means that the number we train needs to increase still," Raik said. "But we're limited by our premises as well as our human resources, and eventually also by the number of students we accept. We still want only the best," she added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn