Temas Especiales

18 de Jan de 2021

Nacional

More people are joining the police

But for National Police director Francisco Troya, these allegations could not be further from the truth.

But for National Police director Francisco Troya, these allegations could not be further from the truth.

Civilians are hearing news about desertion within police ranks, with some claiming policemen are abandoning the profession due to poor pay, poor equipment and total disillusionment with the job which offers little protection to themselves and their relatives in worst case scenarios.

It was impossible to find out statistics on resignations turnover rates at the National Police, because no data was made available to the Panama Star, but National Police director, Francisco Troya denied the rumors.

He said more and more young people are becoming interested in forming part of the police force due to the job security and upward mobility that the profession offers.

“We feel that our policemen are more motivated than before and we are an institution that has a lot to offer such as job security, economic incentives, benefits in kind like life insurance, free medical treatment for them and their families plus food at lower prices,” said Troya.

He added that soon National Police officers will be visiting high schools in an effort to recruit more policemen and increase their presence on the streets.

Troya claimed the recruiting process was strongly competitive. He said that recently 1,500 youngsters applied for a place in the Police Academy of Panama and only 400 were pre-selected to join the six months program.

According to Troya those who have left the profession probably did so for lack of vocation. He also claimed however that many are coming back asking to be reintegrated, after realizing they had made a bad move.

“When you have a demoralized police, the result is that many will want to quit. However, I am convinced that things are changing and that the citizens are appreciating more the policeman on the street and the job the force is doing. That is the best motivation for the men in uniform. The best incentive a policeman can have is the support of the citizens,” said Troya.

The National Director recognized monetary incentive is important and recently President Martin Torrijos announced that in May policemen will receive a pay increase and other benefits,although many observers think that it is not enough.

He insisted that there is a mistaken impression in civil society that many policemen are leaving the force.

“That is not the case, on the contrary more people are joining, because they feel that that it is their vocation. Those who do not go through the training and entered by chance do not have the motivation,” said Troya

“Citizens are demanding more police presence and for that reason we are trying to train as many policemen as possible to be able to face the wave of criminality. We have the obligation to defend the security of the country and its people. We are designing a project for institutional development to have goals in the short, medium and long term,” said Troya.

The scenario painted by Troya appears to be optimistic, however there are policemen who are forced to carry out a second job working as security guards or driving taxis to supplement their salaries of $380 per month. They receive a pay increase of 8 percent every four years, outside of promotions.

Many retire at the age of 41 and do not have any intention to rejoin the force and are bitterly disenchanted with the institution. The long hours (many work 48 hours straight on and off), plus the constant danger that their job entails are major factors for resignations.