By: Davorin Kopše
Politically divided Slovenia is increasingly divided in terms of powers and the work of the police. On the one hand, the coalition with the government is trying to work for the benefit of every citizen and those who are on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, and on the other hand, the KUL coalition is playing the role of a destructive bulldozer. Last week we were able to follow another farce of the opposition, which is increasingly performing acrobatics, which have nothing to do with politics.
We listened to discussions about the leadership and work of the police, in which incompetent people were involved, who should not have a word to say about it. The vice-president of this working body of the National Assembly, Predrag Bakovič (who chaired the session in the absence of the president Branko Grims), who originates from the SD, and comes from the police, often held his head helplessly during the session.
At the session, some MPs tried to prove to the public and to themselves that the police do not do their job professionally. They tried to pull the police to their low level. One of the main allegations was that State Secretary for National Security Žan Mahnič and Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs were in one of the police operational centres. Due to their presence towards the end of the protests, they tried to prove without any fact that they were interfering in the decisions on the use of coercive means.
Why manipulation is harmful
The devil is always hiding in the details, which is why this kind of manipulation is so much more serious and, above all, harmful. Basically, the implementation of the so-called opposition policy of the KUL coalition is a harmful act in a broader sense. There is a general opinion that the police are not credible because they are under the influence of the governing policy. This directly takes away their reputation, thus encouraging violent events on the streets, where it is not a matter of expressing the right to protest, but solely of overthrowing the government.
During the protest on September 15th, the police did not have concrete information that the protests would be violent due to the restriction of their powers to gather information. This is one of the allegations, but it must be said that the police were nevertheless prepared for this scenario as well. With the rapid gathering of protesters in Republic Square, there really were not a large number of police officers there and there was a danger that the bullies would even break into the parliament, where there were still many MPs at the time. As the violence escalated, the police proved that they were prepared for it nonetheless. With their mechanism for convening special units, they immediately convened these units and finally successfully intervened.
The perfidy of KUL policy is also reflected in the constant criticism no matter how the police act. When in the past the police prepared their units and assets (fences and other) before the events, it was wrong of them to do so, but now they were wrong because they did not prepare. We see, therefore, that the opposition is in any case trying to prove the improper functioning of the police and their leadership. When the fences are ready, in their opinion, they fence themselves off from the “people”, but if there are no fences, they are accused of just that.
There were further allegations that police used excessive force by using tear gas and a water cannon. The stupid allegation that non-violent protesters also received the tear gas is intellectual malnutrition. Namely, the tear gas cannot be channelled and used only against certain individuals. I already wrote about this. When the police issue an order that the crowd must leave a certain area, this applies to everyone. Also for random “by-standers”, let alone for protesters. Whether they commit direct violence or not. The command to leave the area means that the area must be left. Period.
The allegation of politicians visiting the police operations center is deliberate politicking. As a former member of the police and army, I can say that every visit of responsible politicians in the units is an additional motivation for work. Hojs and Mahnič visited the operational center solely in order to get directly acquainted with the work and operation of the police and not in order to interfere in the exercise of their powers. This is a normal policy activity. After certain events, of course, the public immediately demands answers to certain questions first from politicians, and only then from the police. During the visit, they also praised the work of the police, which is often more important for an everyman than payment.
Let me recall the habit of visiting military units in the field when military exercises are being conducted. In this way, politics proves its affiliation, and on the other hand, members of the units directly feel support for their work, which maintains the necessary coherence and gives a positive direction to action.
In fact, politics is always welcome in the units, the only thing that matters is that it remains within its political framework. Namely, politics does not have police powers and does not exercise them. Even if they wanted to, they could not. Namely, the police work according to professionally prepared operational plans, which politicians do not even know about. This requires schooling and training. The opposition, with its constant harassment, wants to break the unity of the police officers in their efforts and nothing else. For government purposes!
Too lenient and indecisive police
Criticism is also in place, but it must be constructive. A few days ago, we were able to watch a video on social networks of the well-known small-minded protester Zlatko Čordić, who was hurrying to the bank with his mother. He abused his mother for common self-promotion and convincing the public that people should not respect anti-epidemiological measures.
Neither Zlatko Čordić, nor his mother, wanted to wear a protective mask at the bank. Both were asked by the responsible bank employees to put on the prescribed protective equipment, which they did not want to do, despite repeated complaints. The bank therefore asked the police for intervention and assistance in enforcing the regulation and its house rules. Two police officers arrived at the scene and argued with the violators for an eternity. Especially with Zlatko, as his mother has repeatedly expressed her willingness to wear a protective mask. Her son Zlatko did not allow her to do that.
Of course, the bank did not perform the required banking transaction due to violations, and Čordić filmed the event and posted the video on Facebook. The activities of the Slovenian KUL opposition and, consequently, pressure from the aggressive but relatively small public are paralysing the operational work of the police. The police should have all the support in a regulated country to exercise their powers, which, unfortunately, is not the case at the moment. Under these pressures, the police officers negotiated with the offender Čordić for about twenty minutes, which was really hard to watch.
Police, which enjoy support for their lawful actions, would inform Čordić of the violation and urge him to leave the bank. If he would not (and he did not) take this into account, they would warn him that they would remove him by physical force, and then they would do so immediately as well. The room for conversations with such violators is the police station. When a police officer requests a driver’s and traffic license from us, we immediately hand it over to him for inspection. This should also be the case in all other cases where a police officer makes a lawful request. Trust in the police is key to their functioning and the functioning of the rule of law as a whole.
The call “Police, repression”, which are frequent cries of violent protesters, should therefore not be heard as something negative. According to its basic characteristics, the police are a repressive body all over the world. They step in when it is not otherwise possible to restore the law. The task of politics and other well-intentioned people is to do everything necessary so that there is no need to resort to repressive means or to reduce this to a minimum.
Justice is therefore directly related to the functioning of the rule of law, so the efforts of the KUL opposition are perverse. It wants to prove that justice in the hands of the police is a thief, which violates our constitutional rights. This is dangerous in the long run, so use your brains. We can tear it down with a single blow, and build it for years and years. The operation of the police is also grounded in the constitution.
Davorin Kopše is a veteran of the war for Slovenia, a candidate for the European Parliament, and an active citizen.