July 23, 2024 | 3:52


The Basque Government will penalize fat ertzainas

wilmer ayala

June 21, 2023 | 5:00 pm

Basque Government rewards the physical and neglects mental health

A recent measure of Basque government, from the hand of Joshua Erkoreka, has put on the table an issue that is as controversial as it is surprising: bonuses for members of the Ertzaintza for staying physically fit. A decision that, a priori, might seem reasonable, but when deepening it raises doubts about the orientation of human resources policies in our police force.

The focus on physical fitness seems to prioritize the stereotype of the robust and energetic police officer, neglecting, on the other hand, aspects as or more important as the mental and intellectual form. Don't these factors have an equally essential weight in police performance?

A Simplistic Stereotype

In the classic vision of the police officer, a strong and physically capable figure stands out. In emergency situations, this can be crucial. However, it is important to underline that the work of the Ertzaintza goes far beyond physical force. Police work also requires intellectual and emotional abilities, which allow resolving conflicts and making strategic decisions in complex situations.

Rewarding only the physical aspect can lead to a reductionist vision of the police force, which does not reflect the reality and diversity of skills that are necessary to carry out this role. The message that is sent, both to the police force and to society, is that physical force prevails over other key aspects of police work.

The Importance of Mental Health

It is also essential to consider the importance of the mental health in a high-stress job like that of the Ertzaintza. Police officers are frequently exposed to traumatic and high-tension situations, which can affect their emotional stability and, therefore, their work performance.

In addition to considering physical health, the Basque Government should implement measures that promote the psychological well-being of agents. Instead of rewarding only physical condition, psychological support programs, stress therapies and other mental health care strategies could be considered.

The Police We Need

The Basque Government's decision reflects a police model that seems to be more focused on image than on the real needs of its officers and society. We need an Ertzaintza that is not only physically prepared, but also emotionally strong and cognitively fit.

It is important to rethink what we value and what we reward in our police force. We must not fall into simplistic stereotypes, but promote a comprehensive vision that takes into account the complexity and diversity of roles played by the Ertzaintza. A change is necessary in the perspective of the Basque Government, which should bet on a more holistic approach in its human resources policies.

These types of measures, which seem rather to come from an outdated mentality, are a reflection of the PNV police model that needs a deep revision to adapt to the demands of the XNUMXst century. Basque society deserves an Ertzaintza that is up to the current challenges and that focuses on the truly crucial aspects of its work, beyond pure physical strength.

Because yes, staying in shape is important, but taking care of your mind and intellect is even more important. And in this, the Basque Government still has a long way to go.

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