The Slovenia Times

Police Commissioner Feels Split Between Desires and Finances


Veniger returned to the Slovenian police force in October after spending four years working at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). He plans to use the experience he gained abroad with his work as the chief of police.

Commenting on his relationship with Interior Minister Vinko Gorenak, Veniger labels it "compliant with the law". He has known Gorenak since his academy years but they now rarely see each other.

The minister knows where the limits are in his access to information, but it is right that he is informed of the issues that come up in the media, Veniger says. "After all, he is responsible for the functioning of the entire ministry and the police."

Veniger himself is not informed about concrete cases. "While I do want to have control, so that everything runs efficiently and quickly, I tell everyone I do not need any names or information on who is under investigation."

He also thinks that Gorenak's remark in parliament that "the time of truth is coming" for those first in line and that "the line will be long" was meant in general. "I believe he too expects that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will become more effective and that the oversight over its leadership will be better."

Veniger deems the proposal to turn the now independent body into one of the departments of the crime police a good solution, as the NBI is already a part of the crime police administration.

"I think the current system is controversial, because the NBI head decides which cases they will investigate and which will be left to police administrations without even needing to inform the police commissioner."

The NBI head can therefore leave the hardest crime cases to police administrations, which is not fair, given that the NBI has been set up to deal with such cases and its employees are also better paid than regular police officers.

Veniger is also bothered by the four-year period after which the police commissioner can check the results of NBI's work. "This means that someone can do nothing for four years, but we can't find that out."

The police commissioner is also keen on boosting the efficiency of police officers and freeing them of too much paper work, an idea advocated by two of his predecessors as well as the minister.

"The strategy for the development of police until 2020 includes a project that I like very much called e-cop. It means that police officers would carry iPads or similar devices that would enable them to record all the necessary data on the spot instead of having to write reports later."

The only problem with the project is the funding, but Veniger is hoping for European funds.

Asked about the first case with extensive media coverage in his term, the police checking-up of a signature by opposition MP Melita Župevc in support of a referendum motion, Vengier says that the criticism of politically-motivated action was expected. But he maintains that police acted based on two anonymous complaints.

As regards to the speed with which the matter was investigated, he says that certain cases, which get publicity and are related to the principles of democracy, must be treated as a priority.

Touching on the budgets for 2013 and 2014, which raise the funds for the police by almost EUR 6m in 2013 compared to 2012 and by almost EUR 7m in 2014, Veniger notes that the money will go for investment and material costs, while over EUR 7m less are envisaged for wages in 2013.

To compensate for this, the commissioner will look for internal reserves and ask the employees who meet the criteria for retirement to retire in a bid to avoid lay-offs.

He also plans to save money through better coordination of work to avoid too much over time work and stand-by duties. Savings are also planned in transport costs, which now amount to EUR 16.5m.

The merging of police administrations from eleven to eight in March 2011 also brought some savings, especially in the paying of over-time work and stand-by duties, Veniger says, adding that Slovenia could easily get by with only six police administrations. But no new mergers are currently planned.


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