By Sara Bertoncelj (Nova24tv.si)
“The concern of the people who are now in the ministry, related to the highway police or to staffing, is the result of their bad conscience, because they have not done anything about it in the past years,” believes former Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, who pointed out that during their tenure they increased enrolment at the police academy by almost 60 percent. Hojs assessed the criticisms in the audit as misplaced, in his opinion, it is simply a matter of destroying what was done during the previous government’s time.
As we have already reported, the General Police Administration has temporarily abolished the highway police units in Postojna, Celje, and Maribor, the reason for such a decision being the understaffing of the police units – the police management has estimated that, given the great shortage of traffic police officers, this is currently the only solution. Which is somewhat contradictory to the statement of the acting director general of the police, Boštjan Lindav, who told 24ur that “there are no more police officers working in the field than there were before, as they were simply transferred from the units where they worked before.” According to him, on the other hand, with the establishment of the highway police, many new, high-ranking positions of police chiefs were systematised, and several additional management positions were also systematised and completed.
STA summarised Dnevnik today that the internal audit in the police should have shown irregularities in the conclusion of individual contracts of the highway police administration, among them especially those with Dars. They wrote that the police have already submitted the audit to the anti-corruption commission, which assessed that there were suspicions of criminal acts. Certain flat-rate transfers, for which it was not entirely clear what they were intended for, and donor contracts, which were not donations in their content, were said to be problematic. The complaints are expected to be received by the Department of the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office shortly. The accusations were aimed primarily at the director of the highway police administration, Andrej Jurič, and two other employees of the police. The Highway Police Administration started operating last year, and it also signed an agreement on mutual cooperation with Dars with the aim of improving safety on highways and expressways. Dars explained to Dnevnik that a little less than two million euros were allocated to co-finance the highway police last year, and almost eight million euros are planned for this year.
The data do not lie: the highway police were extremely effective
Former Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs is of the opinion that the highway police proved with its results in the past year that its establishment was the right move – all the data show that it was extremely effective, and Dars was also satisfied with its contributions on Slovenian highways – that is why they decided to co-finance certain equipment and thereby also increase the safety of users of Slovenian highways. What are the plans for the future of the Ljubljana highway police unit, it is practically impossible to predict, as they have not been presented so far – but there is certainly a possibility that this unit will eventually be abolished as well. According to Dnevnik, they are satisfied with the work of the Ljubljana unit at Dars, as on the Ljubljana motorway ring they recorded a third fewer traffic accidents compared to 2019. The effects of its work at Dars are assessed positively, while the police management does not assess the safety on the motorways as optimal and at the same time misses more activities of the highway police in the field of dealing with crime.
On the other hand, the current Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, told the 24ur portal that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption assessed that there were suspicions of criminal acts related to property damage. According to her, the previous group established only one more administration at the state level with a director position, reported STA. She estimates that it was an additional accumulation of jobs in the administration, therefore she supports Lindav’s decision to establish a special working group that will study possible organisational solutions to ensure the effective control of road traffic on highways and expressways and for their appropriate systemic and organisational placement in the system of the police.