The Interior Minister calculates that the bodyguard redction plan now in operation, and affecting some 240 people being protected by private security firms in the Basque Country and Navarra, adds up to a saving of around three million euros every month.
The plan was introduced on March 23rd and translates into the removal of 404 bodybuards (more than half of those under contract to the Interior Ministry) and 135 protective vehicles.
The minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, is also preparing a second plan to reduce the amount of security work carried out by around 3,000 police and guardia civil officers across the country, with the intencion of introducing it immediately. The idea is to reduce by half the number of officers involved in security duties, for the purpose of which a new list has been drawn up, evaluating the individual risk of each public figure.
The Interior Ministry's intention is to adapt to the new situation in Spain in the aftermath of the ceasefire declared by ETA on October 20th last year, as well as introduce the cuts necessary to stay in line with the government's austerity budget.
The Ministry is also studying replacement jobs for all the bodyguards being made redundant in the move, and has suggested they take over security positions currently carried out by around 2,000 guardia civil officers around the outside of Spanish prisons.
In addition to reducing the number of personal bodyguards, the government is also planning to revise and redefine security operations at public buildings.