The government of Spain has proposed as mandatory that all Civil Guard agents wear a bulletproof vest. However, there are around 40,000 officers (out of a total of 75,000) who do not have a vest. For several years, police officers have had to share vests, which has created serious problems. For example, the need for different sizes and models of vests that adapt to the different body types and physiognomy of police officers.
Why vests? Why now?
Following last week’s attack in Paris, the Spanish government has established that it is a top priority for all officers to wear their bulletproof vest.
The Unified Association of Civil Guards (AUGC) stresses:
“After the terrible attacks that took place last Friday night in Paris, and before which the Tricorn Tide protesters observed an emotional minute of silence on Saturday, Spain, like the rest of the countries around us, feels how the terrorist threat has increased. “
For this reason, all officers on duty or in any of the facilities must wear a bulletproof vest at all times. There is only one logistics problem: there is not enough body armor for all the agents.
Protest to get body armor
The AUGC has made an official statement in which they denounce the current situation and decide to speak about this problem. In their statement, they not only demand that there be enough body armor for all officers, but also that there be more variety of vests. That is, each agent has a vest, that there are a variety of sizes, that they are light and ergonomic vests (adapted to men and women). One of the most worrying data that they emphasize is that, for example, in the Department of Traffic Regulation agents, do not even have vests from the beginning.
The AUGC indicates that they have complained about this problem on several occasions and that all their requests have been permanently ignored.
In other words, the measure that all officers wear a vest is very good, and it can help police officers to carry out their work normally and safely. What the AUGC denounces is that much more body armor must be purchased for this measure to be carried out.
The AUGC slogan to achieve its mission is “one guard, one vest”.
Without body armor until 2023
An article in El Español estimates that the Civil Guard will have to continue sharing body armor until at least 2023. This is a big problem since the vest is a fundamental tool for the work of the agents.
The general director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez, has responded to questions about the situation denying that there is no shortage of body armor, which upset the AUGC. However, the facts show that at the end of this year more than half of the officers still did not have body armor.
According to Gámez, in recent years “an effort” has been made, an investment that led them to acquire more than 30,000 new units. Each vest is worth around 500 euros, according to the sources consulted. In 2019, the Civil Guard had a budget of 3,000 million euros.
Past body armor purchases.
Approximately 33,000 bulletproof vests were purchased last year. However, 15,000 withdrew, which continues to put the security forces in short supply of body armor.
They plan to acquire 25,000 over the next three years. However, this presents problems: there will be agents who do not have a vest until 2023.
The Spanish Association of Civil Guards indicates before this data:
“We have asked all the associations because you risk your life. It is not that there are currently 58,000 (vests) missing. That figure is the one they want to replace, either because they have expired and have been withdrawn or because they are about to expire. “
As we can see, this situation generates a great problem and puts thousands of agents in danger. The need to obtain the tools to perform a job is a priority. That is why perhaps, after articles of protest and legislation, the AUGC may be able to speed up the process of obtaining vests.