One in four police officers throughout Spain has been affected by the new wave of Covid, the variant Omicron, which has been sweeping for several weeks. Since the pandemic began, the Ministry of the Interior has not acceded to the repeated requests of professional police associations to transfer real and truthful data about the incidence of the virus in their staff. Although the general incidence in the national bodies seems controlled, it is estimated that between 3% and 5% of their workforce may be between 3% and 5% of their workforce affected, which means between 5,000 and 6,000 agents, when going into detail the situation is much more worrying and when adding the local and regional police forces, the estimates raise the incidence up to 25%, according to different associations.
The increase in the contagion capacity of the Omicron variant of the virus has triggered sick leave in all Spanish professional fields, and the security forces were not going to be an exception. If we look at Madrid, for example, the latest data points to 800 municipal officials infected, of which almost half are municipal police and firefighters.
The problem of sick leave in the security forces is that they are occurring unevenly within the different units that make up the police forces. If we look at the Mossos d’Esquadra, the sources in the body suggest that the incidence is affecting them between a 20% and 30% on average. This means that the incidence of infections is calculated taking into account the entire workforce, but two very specific examples illustrate how misleading this data is. “There are police stations in Barcelona that on Friday, January 8, registered 50% casualties due to Covid, but there have been days when some unit, such as that of Granollers traffic, has had an incidence of a 90% of the workforce of the agents that make it up ”, sources from the Mossos themselves explain to OKDIARIO.
Things do not look better in other autonomous bodies. In the Ertzaintza, the Basque Autonomous Police, it is estimated that there are 400 agents sick for having been infected by Ómicron, but that general calculation does not work if we go into detail, because if a police station has 150 service agents, the thick line indicates that there must be three shifts of 50 police officers. Well, in some Basque police stations of that size, Ómicron outbreaks have been detected that has left a third of the workforce out of the game: more than 30% fewer police officers to carry out the service in that specific area.
By provinces the data worsens
If we go back to the national bodies, to the Police and the Civil Guard, the data is also unbalanced when we go from the generality to the detail: 5,000 infected police officers from a workforce of more than 60,000, as is the case of the National Police, seem few, but if we we are going to Málaga and we discovered that out of a template of 3,000 they have already been detected 200 cases and going up, we see that the incidence of Ómicron there is double that of the national figure.
Something similar has happened to the same body in the province of Castellón, where of the more than 3,000 personnel who work there 250 are already on leave work for being infected. The higher the concentration of agents in particular and of people in general, the higher the level of infected persons who cannot continue on duty. The last time an estimate of the incidence was made at the Superior Police Headquarters of Madrid It was in mid-December and of course, it was not official either, but more than 750 cases. The sources consulted by this newspaper affirm that this figure has skyrocketed since then.
The numbers remain opaque, but concern is mounting. Officially, all the bodies guarantee from the outside that security and attention to the citizen are guaranteed despite the incidence of the virus, but the concern that the number of cases and sick leave continues to increase persists, hence it demands its agents take extreme precautions against possible contagions. In fact, in some places, such as the Basque Country, potentially dangerous police activities have been reduced, such as breathalyzer tests to control the incidence.
Other staff dependent on the Interior are also being affected, such as prison officials. OKDIARIO has had access to a statement written by the management of the Albocácer prison, in Castellón, on December 10, in which the workers are warned that the workforce has fallen short due to the flood of sick leave increased by the wave of Ómicron, reason why “it proceeds to suspend as of Thursday, January 14 the days of vacations, compensation of cash and own affairs, maintaining this indication until further order”.
Ómicron does not distinguish between uniforms, so while police and security casualties are compensated with overtime and cancellation of vacations, Interior tries to stop a bloodbath of infections that in some places can be a true security alert.