ROJALES Local Police have recently had only a single officer available patrolling the entire municipality at times, due a long-running pay dispute.
Officers have REFUSED to work overtime or perform extra duties, because the City Council still owes overtime from 18 months ago.
The refusal, combined with absences due to Covid, have left the service at near breaking point.
In many shifts, a single officer and a duty Head of Police back at Rojales Police Station, have had to take calls and respond to the needs of a municipality in excess of 16,000 residents, including Spain’s largest expat community – Ciudad Quesada.
The Police and Firefighters Professional Union (SPPLB) explained that the debt outstanding to officers is almost €45,000.
They say the situation is “unsustainable” and they may take legal action, because none of the compromises offered so far have been acceptable.
Union bosses claim that from the start of the pandemic until the end of 2020, orders from the mayor’s office obliged officers to work extra overtime because of the State of Alarm Decreed by the State.
Some 20 policemen and women are ready to return to duties, “if they are paid”, according to the union.
The SPPLB slammed Pérez, accusing him of “presuming to preside over a council with healthy accounts [but] does not pay the police for their services.”
Concerning the current situation in January 2022, an official statement reads, “Agents have given up voluntarily performing extra services, as they presume they are not going to be paid, meaning some services that Rojales residents deserve, not being attended to.”
This all comes at a time when Rojales City Council were found to be lacking in scores of areas, languishing in 479th place among nearly 500 Spanish Town Halls.
A nationwide survey studying results from 491 ayuntamiento, saw Rojales achieve only SEVEN out of 162 targets relating to fiscal transparency and compliance.