VILNIUS - In an effort to save money on wages, parts of the Lithuanian police force will be asked to take unpaid leave, police chiefs decided on April 27.
In a meeting between police leaders, heads of divisions of the police department said there were only two ways of saving funds in the difficult financial situation 's headcount reduction or mass unpaid holidays. The latter was chosen by consensus, daily Lietuvos Zinios reported.
"We do not live in a jungle. We're not animals that devour the weakest ones," said the head of the Police Department's Personnel Board, Tomas Bikmanas.
Unpaid holidays of the administrative staff, numbering around 200, will enable the department to save around 187,000 litas (54,203 euros).
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police department, said that people on the street would not feel a lack of police presence.
"According to the police department under the Ministry of the Interior, people will not feel it. Only the administration staff of the police department as well as the heads and deputy heads of police agencies or police units will be asked to take leave of absence, so this measure will affect neither patrols nor territorial inspectors or investigators, which have the biggest workload," Gabriel Banaityte, Interior Ministry spokesperson, told TBT.
Patrolling officers and investigators will not be forced to take the unpaid holidays, but staff of administrative divisions will have to take five days without pay in May, June and July. Staff will be able to take all five days at a time or divide them.
Bikmanas said different police bodies had already discussed the decision of unpaid holidays.
"There are signs of discontent but everybody understands," he said.
Bikmanas said the Personnel Board started receiving many applications for unpaid holidays already.
The saved money will be directed toward overtime payments in territorial police divisions, particularly since additional police presence will be required during mass events scheduled for this summer.