Tourism and construction are not the only industries having trouble finding employees.
For the third year in a row, the data from the Interior Ministry shows that police officers – apparently dissatisfied with their below-average salaries which for young policemen residing in Zagreb amount to about 3,800 kunas per month – are quitting their jobs, going into early retirement or taking unpaid leave to work abroad or learn a foreign language so they can emigrate in the near future. Since the beginning of the year, 197 police officers have left the police force, which means about 32 per month. Of those who have quit, many did it because they decided to look for a better-paid job in Germany or Ireland, reports Večernji List on 9 July 2017.
Since 2014, 288 police officers voluntarily resigned. In 2014, that number included some 20 members of the special police units who found new jobs as private security guards in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo for a monthly salary of between 4,000 to 8,000 dollars. One of the special police unit members who have left says that these were mostly people aged between 30 and 40, who had worked in the special police units for 10 to 20 years. The reason for their departure was salary because with their 6,000 kuna salaries they were not able to repay their loans. Before leaving the police, they had asked for unpaid leave for up to one year, which would have been enough for them to solve their financial problems. In some cases, these requests were denied, so they decided to terminate their employment.
About 110 police officers decided to leave the police in 2016. Since the beginning of this year, 52 additional officers have resigned. One of them is a police officer with ten years of experience who worked in the Special Security Affairs Directorate, which is known to have above-average police salaries and whose duties are to protect high-ranking government officials. He has left Croatia and is now in Germany where he works as a bus driver.
“We are sorry that police officers are deciding to leave the Ministry, especially by voluntarily resigning. What is tragic is that these are mostly young people whose best years are still ahead of them. The numbers and trends are worrisome. Retirements are often linked to the same reasons,” says Dubravko Jagić, president of the Croatian Police Trade Union.
The Interior Ministry is aware that police officers’ salaries are low, but the answer is always the same: there is simply no more money. They assure that the security of citizens will not be compromised and police departments are trying to compensate by employing new officers.
According to the Ministry, 870 police officers have been hired since 2015. But in the same period, 236 police officers left voluntarily, 714 retired, and 71 took unpaid leave, which means that 1,021 police officers in total have left the police force. There are no indications that this trend will be stopped. “We cannot criticise our colleagues for their decision to leave the Ministry because the reasons are in almost all cases financial,” says Jagić.