The Maldives Police Service (MPS) made an announcement on Sunday seeking recruits for the “special constabulary” reserve force to be established this year.
Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz informed press last week that President Dr Mohamed Waheed has formally authorised the creation of the reserve force, which was provided for in the Police Act enacted in 2008.
“All persons recruited for the police reserve force would have to complete the police basic training course. And all who pass the training and are awarded certificates upon completion would have to take the oath of a police officer,” according to police media.
Applicants must be aged 18 to 35 and should have completed secondary education, it added, while male applicants must be taller than 5 feet 3 inches and female applicants taller than 5 feet.
Application forms along with regulations on the special constabulary are available from the police website. The deadline for submission is May 16.
A reserve force of part-time officers is used in a number of countries as an auxiliary force to be called upon to assist the regular police force.
Commissioner Riyaz meanwhile told local media that the reserve force would create “employment opportunities for youth.” Reserve officers could take other jobs, he explained, but would be subject to police codes of conduct and ethics.
Reserve officers would have the same privileges and powers and receive the same benefits as regular officers, he added.
According to the regulations (Dhivehi) governing the special constabulary, employees of the reserve force would be paid 85 percent of the salary of a regular police officer of the same rank. Reserve officers would be required to work at least 192 hours a month.
Following the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012 in the wake of a police mutiny, more than 1,000 officers were given promotions and double promotions while plans were announced to recruit 200 new officers.
In July 2012, a batch of 110 newly-recruited officers took their oaths while housing schemes and other benefits were rolled out for police officers.
During the parliamentary debate on the state budget proposed for 2013, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs criticised budgeted salary increases for military and police officers as well as plans to hire 800 new officers for the security services.
The government’s wage bill was projected to increase by 37 percent in 2013 as a result of hiring more employees.
MDP MP Eva Abdulla claimed during the budget debate that the police and army hired 250 and 350 new staff respectively in 2012.
Consequently, the institutions spent more than MVR 75 million (US$4.8 million) in addition to the approved budgets for 2012, she claimed.
Meanwhile, in its professional opinion on the budget submitted to parliament, the Auditor General’s Office observed that compared to 2012, the number of state employees was set to rise from 32,868 to 40,333 – resulting in MVR 1.3 billion (US$84.3 million) of additional expenditure in 2013.
This anticipated increase included 864 new staff to be hired by the security services, a report by the Auditor General’s Office noted.
In light of “existing inefficiencies” in the state, the Auditor General contended that hiring more staff for various independent institutions would be “a waste of public funds” as it would divert resources from service provision and development projects.
Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad meanwhile sought authorisation from parliament last month to divert MVR 650 million (US$42 million) allocated for infrastructure projects in the budget to cover recurrent expenditure.
More than 70 percent of the state budget is allocated for recurrent expenditures, including salaries, allowances and administrative costs. Of the MVR 12 billion (US$778 million) in recurrent expenditure, 59 percent – 42 percent of the total budget – was to be spent on state employees.