Hojs dismisses allegations of politicisation of police

Ljubljana – Appearing in a telvised current affairs show on Sunday, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs rejected allegations about the police organisation changes being an attempt to politicise the force. Hojs sees the new law as the first step towards a more professional police that would reduce any political impact, whereas the opposition maintains the opposite.

Responding to the allegations made by the opposition and police trade unions, Hojs said that the talks about these legislative amendments had started in 2009 and that during the previous government, the proposal had included lower-rank changes on top of the current ones.

He added that during the parliamentary debate on the bill, the opposition had not raised issues regarding the article on staffing changes. According to Hojs, previous Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed to downgrade the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Poklukar meanwhile said that the new law gave the minister an opportunity to interfere in the police, declassed the NBI and enabled political purge in the force, however he did not deny Hojs’s statement that the amendments were drafted when he was minister.

The amendments, which kicked in on 13 November, have placed the NBI under the purview of the criminal police. Moreover, under the changes, the terms of some 130 police chiefs ended, including the head of the Uniformed Police Directorate and the Criminal Police Directorate, and the heads of all the eight police departments in the country.

The ministry has said that all of them can continue with their work until their temporary transfer and that they will be able to apply for the positions again. The appointment procedures are expected to get under way in three months, but the selection criteria is still being drawn up.

The allegations about police politicisation have already been dismissed by Police Commissioner Anton Olaj. Both police trade unions have meanwhile announced challenging the changes at the Constitutional Court.