By: Vinko Gorenak
When I visited Brežice and the temporary centre for illegal migrants in 2015 – as a member of the National Assembly delegation and an MP – I was quite seriously concerned about the situation. A few hundred illegal migrants were in a barbed wire fenced area with toilets and a temporary food distribution and sleeping area.
Of course, they were guarded by the police, because at that time the situation was such that illegal migrants travelled en masse and organised through Slovenia to Austria and on to Germany or even further north. This “organised trip” was, of course, thanks to the work of the police and other services, which controlled the situation as much as possible so that Slovenia did not become a migrant pocket. When I went to the wire fence together with my fellow MPs, illegal migrants approached us en masse and shouted UNHCR, UNHCR? Of course, they thought that we were the representatives of this organisation, who would listen to them about how their “human rights were violated”. But when I turned my back on them and shook hands with the policemen, they started shouting at me.
Why am I writing this? Because I want to present to you the attitude towards the police and policemen. When we need them, we praise them, but when we do not need them or when they act repressively against us, we are ready to revile and insult them. Therefore, police officers must always and everywhere treat everyone strictly according to the letter of the law and nothing else, this is a kind of “commandment from God” for the work of police officers.
But let’s go back to the time of the third Janša’s government, that is, to the time of 2020-2022. Mass and even violent demonstrations marked this time. Of course, they were organised by leftists and their supporters, also in the role or under the guise of non-governmental organisations. You remember Nika Kovač, Jaša Jenull, Teja Jarc, Zoran Stevanovič, and many other left-wing political activists and propagandists. In this same spectrum, we can add many other peaceful souls, on paper independent organisations or unionists, including both police unions. Everyone blew their trumpets “against Janša”. The reason, of course, is banal, the taps of state money that fed non-governmental organisations were closed at the time. Police unionists are not trade unionists anyway, but left-wing political propagandists.
The most important date was, of course, October 5th, 2021. You probably forgot what happened then? Let me remind you. Leaders of all EU countries and many other top representatives of other countries or organisations gathered in Ljubljana and in Brdo pri Kranju. The announcement of the anarchists and protesters was clear, they said that they would block Brdo pri Kranju with trucks and tractors and that they would occupy the streets of Ljubljana. Well, the first one did not happen, but this and the second prediction came true.
Can you imagine how important a security issue was before police chiefs and officers? Can you imagine a situation where thugs would capture, injure, or even kill a single foreign national or even several? The whole world would report that Slovenia is not a safe country and the like. Can you imagine what economic consequences this would have for the tourism of the country and what else? The answer is right in the palm of your hand. Nothing like this happened solely and only because our police performed their duties as they should. We can be grateful to them for doing their job the way they did.
These days, however, we are witnessing a report on the control over the work of the police during mass and violent protests. Allegedly, 63 police officers have been warned for alleged irregularities, and 13 police officers, including 4 police chiefs, will be prosecuted for allegedly committing crimes during violent and undeclared demonstrations.
But be careful, control over the work of the police, in the same period of time, was also ordered by the former Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs and the former Director General of the Police Dr Anton Olaj. The findings of the then independent supervisors differ greatly from the findings of the supervisors appointed by Tatjana Bobnar or Boštjan Lindav. So, we also have left and right independent supervisors?
At this point, I have to say loud and clear that I have never been and never will be an advocate for police officers overstepping their authority. Even today, I meet quite a few former police officers whom I dismissed from the police force in the period from 1981 to 1989, when I had such powers as police chief. And I never regretted it, I would do the same today.
This position of mine also applies to all police chiefs and police officers who performed police duties during the mass protests in 2020-2022. It is quite possible that here and there, there have been excesses of police powers, and the action of the current police leadership is necessary in such cases.
But I cannot ignore the official messages of the police leadership and the reports of the left-wing media, which do not know and cannot draw a clear dividing line between individual abuses of police officers’ powers and massive violations of human rights by the police.
If we add to this the actions of Robert Golob, who accepted all the organisers of violent protests and thanked them for their actions during the third Janša’s government, richly rewarded them financially through donations to non-governmental organisations but did not accept or talk to a single police officer bosses or policemen who were involved in the protection of violent demonstrations, then the message value to the policemen is quite clear.
The title of this post is rather crude: “Police Destroyers”. It may be too rough, but I want to point out the following. Action against police officers who exceed police powers is necessary. But excessive emphasis and action against them in this case is not even necessary, on the contrary, it is even harmful, as it will have unforeseen and long-term consequences and a message value to the police and officers for future situations. And what is this message? Rather look away and see nothing and take no action, that will be the best for you. This is actually true, but it is very bad for the safety of the citizens of Slovenia and the country as such.