The government, the civil servants union PASYDY and police officer unions have roundly rejected a proposal for raising the retirement age from 63 to 65 for certain police officers.
Under a bill co-drafted by DIKO MP Fytos Constandinou and DISY’s Prodromos Prodromou, the statutory retirement age would be increased to 65 for officers with the rank of lieutenant and above.
According to the bill’s authors, the proposal aims to achieve equal treatment for workers in the public sector, while at the same time stemming the police force’s depleted numbers.
Apparently protecting his turf, justice minister Ionas Nicolaou came out against, because as he said if implemented the proposal would result in an ageing police force.
“We want a police that is operationally capable and whose members have the physical condition, as well as the experience, to cope with their duties,” said Nicolaou.
The nature of police work was different to that of other civil servants, he added.
The minister did concede that currently there are 497 vacant positions in the police and 107 in the fire department, as a result of normal and early retirements.
Instead, the justice ministry will counter-propose a partial lifting of a hiring freeze on first-entry posts. The ministry also intends to delegate some police duties to local administration authorities, as well as assign a private company the job of security at the Menoyia detention centre.
Weighing in, police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said extending the retirement age for some police officers would result in an additional cost to the state of €240,000.
During a session of the House finance committee, lawmakers heard the MPs’ bill would for this year affect four police officers if implemented.
Under the bailout agreement between Cyprus and its international lenders, the number of civil servants must be slashed by at least 4,500 over the period of 2012-16, as a means of trimming the public-sector payroll. As it stands, the numbers don’t add up.
To meet the targets, the deal with the troika provides for a freeze on the hiring of new personnel on first-entry posts in the broader public sector for until December 31, 2016; implementing a policy of recruiting one person for every four retirees; measures to increase the mobility of civil servants within and across ministries; and implementing a plan aimed at the abolition of at least 1,880 permanent posts.