JUSTICE MINISTER Ionas Nicolaou plans to request parliament’s approval for an exemption on the freeze on hirings in the public sector to fill two top spots in the police force.
Speaking during a visit to the mobile rapid reaction unit (MMAD) yesterday, Nicolaou said he plans to ask for parliament’s approval to fill two vacant posts of assistant to the chief of police after the two incumbent high-ranking officers applied for early retirement.
He said these two specific posts had to be filled as they were “absolutely necessary” for the operation of the force.
The minister acknowledged that a substantial number of police members have applied for early retirement so far.
The practice of seeking early retirement has been widespread in the public sector in the last year following fears that salaries would be cut and the lump sum received by public employees on retirement taxed as part of new austerity measures.
Nicolaou refused to say how many police have applied for early retirement but he did say that at the moment, there are 300 vacant positions in the force due to the freeze on hiring.
The minister said he plans to fill those 300 posts by bringing in office staff from semi-government organisations that will close. This in turn will free up police personnel currently carrying out administrative duties to fill the 300 vacant positions.