Ex-Cops Being Pulled Out of Retirement to Enforce Austrian COVID Rules

An Austrian police officer checks a driver's digital vaccination certificate on a smartpho
HANS PUNZ/APA/AFP via Getty Images

Ex-officers up to 70 years of age are being pulled out of retirement in Upper-Austria to help enforce national lockdown rules in the province.

Previously retired officers up to 70 years of age have been asked to return to active service in order to help enforce lockdown rules in the province.

The state police department — under the instruction of Governor Thomas Stelzer — wrote to around 700 officers late last year to request they return to active duty.

While those who accept the request will not be given a police uniform, according to a report by Kronen Zeitung, they will be considered to be in active service, and are to be deployed for 39 hours per week.

The state is now in the process of attempting to return some of those contacted to active duty.

“We have received feedback from 37 police officers who have been contacted, and they are now receiving their documents,” the governor’s office told the publication. “Nobody has signed it yet, and admissions interviews have to be held.”

Retired state officials have also been contacted regarding their potential interest in becoming a COVID rule inspector in Upper Austria, while the state has reportedly hired an additional 375 external employees to help deal with the crisis caused by the Chinese Coronavirus.

Austria is currently operating a lockdown regime described by one critic as “Corona Apartheid“, where those who are unvaccinated are under lockdown restrictions, and barred from accessing a number of amenities in the country.

While this system has been in operation since last year, the nation once again tightened rules even further on Tuesday, mandating that every person entering a shop must be checked for proof of vaccination or recovery, in order to prevent those not permitted to avail of the services from accessing them.

The mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks outdoors was also introduced for areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Police forces in the European country have taken the enforcement of COVID rules quite seriously, recently announcing the deployment of plainclothes officers in the hopes of catching out those looking to get around the measures.

“The controls will… continue to be intensified, above all out of fairness towards those who support the necessary restrictions in solidarity,” Austria’s Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, told Kronen Zeitung.

“It’s about taking action against those who do not adhere to the rules. And taking action with fairness towards those who support the measures,” Karner also said.


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