Commission rejects resolution Hojs undermined police safety

Ljubljana – The Commission for Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services (KNOVS) debated on Friday the disclosure by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs of pay data for the police force to vote against a resolution that Hojs’s act was inappropriate and affected the internal security in the police force.

The opposition MPs in the commission wanted to condemn the disclosure of names and wages of nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees and call on the ministry not to publish such lists any more.

The Interior Ministry published the list after PSS, one of the two police trade unions in Slovenia, launched a strike to demand higher pay. The trade union has filed criminal charges against Hojs, arguing the publishing jeopardised the safety of certain police officers and investigator.

After today’s session, KNOVS chair Matjaž Nemec of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) told the press that the commission needed five votes to confirm the proposal, falling one vote short. Other MPs abstained.

Nemec said that the “commission in which the opposition has no majority for the first time in history” had not voted in favour of an opinion identical to that of the General Police Directorate.

“It is clear that politics is not capable of assessing whether the minister acted appropriately or not,” he added.

According to Nemec, it was established at the session that the data on wages came from the records of the ministry, and not of the police force, as Hojs had claimed.

The minister was thus misleading the public when he claimed that it is the police who need to label which names of employees are confidential, and that based on this classification the minister decides whether or not to publish the data, the MPs said.

The session established that it was unwarranted from the minister to publish the data as the relevant law defines what protected data are and when the security of the work of police officers may be at risk even if a piece of information is not labelled as confidential, he added.

According to him, the police are examining whether the publication has caused adverse consequences. Before publishing the list, Hojs had not consulted anybody regarding potential consequences, Nemec added.

KNOVS member Anja Bah Žibert of the ruling Democrats (SDS) meanwhile said on Twitter that the session was completely unnecessary.

“Wages in the public sector are public. This is also true for the police, bar for exceptions that were considered. Every citizen may get this information if they ask for it,” she added.