On New Year’s Eve in Rome, 83% of the police officers set to work called in sick. The shockingly high proportion of the 1000 officers who were absent from work when they were meant to be dealing with one of the busiest celebration nights of the year has been branded “unacceptable” by the authorities.
As well as claiming they were too ill to come to work, some officers insisted they were giving blood or cited unspecified physical ‘disabilities’ as reasons for their failure to attend.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Italian authorities are also threatening disciplinary action against those officers who failed to show up to help deal with the thousands of New Year’s Eve party goers who ran riot through Rome’s historic piazzas and let off powerful illegal fireworks.
Ignazio Marion, the mayor of Rome, said on Facebook: “They didn’t manage to ruin the party, but those responsible will have to be held to account”.
The municipal police denied they were being lazy, saying their absence was part of a broader dispute with the Government over pay, conditions and not enough personnel.
The head of the police union, Stefano Giannini said: “There are 5,900 of us and there should be 9,400. With these numbers we can no longer provide 24-hour service, seven days a week”.
Matteo Renzi, Italy’s Prime Minister, has criticised the force and called for changes to public sector employment in 2015.