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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Klakočar and Šarec – do not insult security officers

By: Dr Vinko Gorenak

A few days ago, we followed the media coverage of how the Prime Minister needs his own security service (read para police) to protect him, as he does not trust the police and the officers of the Centre for Security and Protection of the General Police Administration, who are allegedly responsible for the fact that a photo of his minor son during his first visit to Brussels appeared in the public domain (like the President of the National Assembly Klakočar Zupančič). There were even more statements of one kind or another on the topic of protecting protected persons. The Minister of Defence thus said that as Prime Minister, he was assigned police officers who did not know where the National Assembly was. Today (December 14th, 2022), the Prime Minister obviously lied in the National Assembly that the regulation on his protection was created by the Ministry of the Interior and not by the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. On December 12th, 2022, former Minister Bobnar responded clearly to a parliamentary question by MP Dejan Kaloh, that both the Ministry of the Interior and the police did not participate in the creation of the aforementioned regulation, moreover, the organisation of a para-police unit that will, or is already protecting, Robert Golob, was advised against from the point of view of the profession, with which I completely agree.

The officers of the Centre for Security and Protection of the General Police Administration are highly qualified individuals who master all the necessary skills to protect protected persons, both foreigners visiting Slovenia and domestic protected persons. I have already written that these policemen have very successfully guarded the Pope, two American presidents, and the crowned heads, including the Queen Elizabeth II, not to mention hundreds of foreign heads of government and state. Apparently, this is not enough for Robert Golob, which is why he came up with his own para-state police, which will only protect him.

And today the police reacted to all this. In their response to the politicians’ statements, they “gently” wrote (I do not know why such gentleness) that “they do not agree to flat-rate and unfair assessments of the work of Slovenian police officers and security guards”. They also emphasise that they cooperate properly with the new service (Robert Golob’s state police), even though they opposed its establishment.

All well and good. For me, this response from the police leadership is insufficiently targeted. In the following, let me give some personal experiences. When I was elected Minister of the Interior in 2012, two police officers appeared next to me in the hallway of the National Assembly. Of course, they told me what I already knew, that from then on, I was a protected person.

The first contacts with the police officers who protected me were interesting. Yes please, thank you, I do not know, right… those were all their words. At times it felt like they had a limited vocabulary. But this is not the case, they are exceptional professionals who do their work responsibly and professionally, and that is all. They do not care about anything else.

Marjan Šarec, officially the Minister of Defence, but to me still the village comedian, said a few days ago that he was assigned security guards who did not know where the National Assembly was. This is, of course, an insult to the security officers and nothing else, or in other words, it is a thank you to Robert Golob for being able to be the Minister of Defence, even though the people in the elections sent him among the village entertainers.

In my year-and-a-month long career as a protected person (Minister of the Interior), it only happened once that the security officers brought me to the back (locked) entrance of the hotel in Moravske Toplice and not to the main entrance, where my interlocutors were waiting for me. For that, of course, I did not make any spectacle, I did not condemn the security officers, even though they were very embarrassed and apologised I do not know how many times. The actual culprit for this slip was me and not the security officers. Namely, I did not allow the so-called precursor to go in front of me and my security guards, who would have directed my security guard exactly.

Regardless of everything, I am fully aware that the security officers of the Security and Protection Centre of the General Police Administration are highly qualified and professional. Any criticism of them is completely unjustified and unfounded.

I also acted in accordance with these principles in 2012, when I was the Minister of the Interior. On the very first day of the appointment of Janša’s second government, the Minister of Defence at the time, Karl Erjavec, sent me a list of security officers who were supposed to protect him and no one else. I did not accede to his wish (there were reasons for this given to me by the police), I did not even burden Prime Minister Janez Janša, and Karl Erjavec had to accept my decision to be protected by police security guards appointed by the police and not him.

Finally, a “prize question”. The police have two police unions, which were very vocal during the third Janša’s government. Did you hear their reaction to Tatjana Bobnar’s resignation? I did not. Of course, it is clear that it is not about police unions, but about two left-wing political brass. Shame on them.

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