The ASPP / PSP said that in relation to the 1990s or even the beginning of the 21st century, the number of candidates has been falling from around 10,000 to just over 2,000.
“This reduction has reflected some concerns with the selection for admission to courses for police officers”, says the association, noting that the base salary is €791.
ASPP / PSP also spoke of the increased risk of violence against professionals, which has risen considerably in recent years, from 122 incidents in 2016 to 239 in 2019.
The ASPP / PSP said that a police professional deals “with all kinds of unforeseen events, even outside his area of remit and only has fractions of seconds to be able to make complex decisions that directly impact his own life or the life of any citizen” and that the salary should reflect this responsibility.
A lack of career prospects, which is considerably limited when at the bottom of the career ladder in the service, is another reason cited by ASPP for why the profession is no longer attractive to candidates.
“An agent, despite having maximum service ratings and an above average resume, can take 15 years to be promoted to the first category (principal agent)”, says the association.
Cost of living is also another important factor, with 90 percent of new agents being placed in Lisbon, the most expensive city in the country in terms of accommodation and food.
“Taking into account the poor salary, officers end up not being able to support the basic expenses to be able to live in the capital”, said the ASPP / PSP, adding that it can take up to 20 years for an officer to be transferred to a location of their preference.
“Constant judgments in the public realm, often unfair, about the performance of professionals also adds to serious psychological health problems” and other emotional and family problems, which in many cases lead to divorce, are another negative factor indicated by ASPP / PSP that explain the decrease in candidates for the profession.
According to the association’s management, if the government does not solve this problem, it will put into question the quality and credibility of the institution, “from whom every day, more is demanded”.