Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav, told the press that after reviewing the report on the extraordinary review of the protection of protests in 2020 and 2021, several professional irregularities were found, which led to 63 interviews with employees of the Police. Thirteen police officers are suspected of committing a crime, but their identities remain undisclosed, and all blame is being placed on the former management. Meanwhile, the former Police leadership has also spoken out, and with all of this, the question arises: is this Lindav’s way of trying to save his position?
“A poor excuse for a report and the discreditation of excellent work,” was the response of former Interior Minister Aleš Hojs to the statement made to the press by Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav. The review of the report on the extraordinary review of the protection of protests during the epidemic found irregularities, and 13 police officers are even suspected of committing a crime, but what is strange about all this is that the Police leadership has not disclosed information about specific persons, but instead put the blame on the former leadership of the Police. Is Lindav giving in to Prime Minister Golob’s pressure and thus trying to save his own position?
Lindav announced that the report on the extraordinary review of the protection of protests in 2020 and 2021 had been thoroughly examined by the Police last month. He added that the Police must serve the people, not political interests, which is particularly important in times of crisis when the Police have to reassure the public. Reassure? The job of the Police, as we have known it since always, is to protect people and property, to keep people safe, and to protect them from vandals and thugs. And what were we witnessing during the violent protests during the epidemic, if not violent riots and destruction of property? The Police are not obliged to protect criminals and rioters, but innocent people who may have turned up at the scene of protests during the riots.
And they were protecting property that is not owned by the protesters, who care little about anything else but their own interests. So, what is the purpose of the Police, and why are we paying them if, in the Golob government’s view, they are basically not even allowed to do their basic job? “The report also says that there should have been more police officers at the fences to prevent the violent crossing of ‘peaceful’ protesters, and that the protesters were not warned before using the water cannon that they should not throw granite cubes at the cannon. A poor excuse for a report and the discreditation of excellent work,” Hojs wrote on Twitter.
He pointed out that due to how much time has already passed from the events, some of the employment conditions were already time-barred, and the dismissal procedures would have been unlawful. The report’s findings were based on a review of all the material. In examining the report, it is alleged that they found breaches of laws, regulations, and professional rules. As a result of the professional irregularities found, 63 police officers were interviewed and warned about the professional irregularities found, and 13 police officers are suspected of having committed a criminal offence. Surprisingly, their identities have not been disclosed. Do they have any particular reason for withholding this information from the public, or is it all just a figment of their imagination and a deliberate attempt to throw stones at those who have not been “removed,” as Golob demanded of former Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar? It would seem so. Lindav denies the revanchism, but the whole situation is all the more suspicious when we read the account of the former director of the Slovenian Criminal Police, Dušan Mohorko, who wrote on Twitter: “There are reasons to suspect that the current police leadership invented reasons for suspicion and thus committed more crimes. Who will inform the competent prosecutors?”
The absence of the prosecutor’s office at the press conference reinforces doubts about the report being politically motivated
The Minister of Public Administration, Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, in her capacity as Minister of the Interior, is satisfied that the Police have already implemented some measures which she believes will prevent further abuses, including for political purposes, from ever occurring again. She stressed that this is not a witch hunt; it is about preventing such events from happening again in the future. The former Director of Police, Dr Anton Olaj, also responded to her statement, explaining on Twitter that he encouraged the Minister’s determination to take these new, “imagined” systemic measures, but that certain circumstances and the absence of the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the press conference encouraged and reinforced suspicions that the conclusions were politically motivated.
The Specialised Public Prosecutor’s Office will now verify the suspicions and, if they confirm the findings of the Police, it will initiate the relevant proceedings before the court, which will then determine if there are also suspicions of a criminal offence, at which point labour law measures can be taken, the Minister explained. While there were systemic findings, as well as individual irregularities, the report does not identify the employees by name, and the Ministry of the Interior has asked the Police management to identify the accused individuals.
The Minister of Public Administration, Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, who is temporarily in charge of the Ministry of the Interior following the resignation of Tatjana Bobnar, gave directions and instructions to the Police management in early January on the basis of the report, and she expected the management to carry out internal security checks and, on the basis of the findings, to initiate labour law proceedings. Given her satisfaction with the report and the implementation of the works, it can be concluded that she is also more “pliable” than Bobnar was. And she is in this position for a reason.