The overall number of police officers in Estonia has declined by nearly 1,000, which may be the reason why Estonian residents feel as though they don't see law enforcement officers on the street anymore, write daily Postimees and regional paper Sakala.
The number of police officers working in Estonia roughly equals the number working 16 years ago — the difference is, border guards and police officers were joined together in the meantime, in 2010, Postimees explained.
According to Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Director General Elmar Vaher, at the end of 2014, the agency was forced to decide: whether to continue on a course in which patrol officers and other front-line workers continue to quit the force, or interfere.
"We decreased the number of employees and increased wages, and beginning in 2015, the number of police officers has remained more stable," Vaher said. "If I had to choose between keeping a lot of but undermotivated people on the force and paying a smaller number of police officers as dignified a salary as possible, then I am definitely in favour of every additional euro going toward increasing the wages of existing employees."
Additional funding earmarked for the PPA in next year's state budget would allow the PPA to pay its patrol officers an average gross monthly salary of €1,400.
Editor: Aili Vahtla