Police Union: Interior Minister Trying to Influence Police Activities

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Interior Minister Orepić says the accusations are not true.

Is Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić interfering in police work and thus exceeding his authority – that is a question to which many would give an affirmative answer. Especially in this pre-election period when a war rages among political parties, especially between MOST, which nominated Orepić for his position, and SDP, reports Večernji List on July 29, 2016.

The accusations about who has spent more public money in the Interior Ministry-owned Costabella Villa, current Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković or former Prime Minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović, are the best example of this.

The Interior Minister, given that it is a political post, should not be involved in police investigations. They are solely within the competence of the Police Directorate. However, some police representatives say that Orepić regularly calls police officers to encourage them to initiate investigations or to ask about their progress.

President of the National Police Union Nikola Kajkić claims that Orepić interferes with police work. “My colleagues told me that Orepić had called some heads of police departments to inquire and check on investigations. Such contacts should not be done by ministers, since they are politicians. It should be the job of the police director general or his deputy, or chiefs of individual police sectors”, explains Kajkić, adding that it was obvious that MOST specifically wanted to control ministries of interior and justice in negotiations about forming a government after the last elections.

Kajkić says he does not know which cases Orepić asked about, but he knows that he called police chiefs in Zagreb, Osijek and Split. According to Kajkić, after the State Attorney’s Office dismissed charges against SDP president Milanović in the “Madison case”, the Minister was allegedly very angry and had a meeting with police officers who worked on the case.

Siniša Mihalić, president of the General Police Union, also claims that Orepić is trying to influence police activities. “The Minister is working on a new systematization of jobs within police and is transferring people from one department to another. However, it is the Police Directorate which should be the main body to decide how the police will function”, says Mihalić. He adds that Orepić’s statements clearly demonstrate that he is giving orders to police officers. “Orepić has misunderstood his powers. He has no right to interfere in the work of police”, explains Mihalić.

He and Kajkić claim that interior minister before Orepić also interfered with the work of the police.

Responding to the accusations, Minister Orepić said briefly that they were not true. Police departments in Zagreb, Split and Osijek also say that Orepić has not inquired about individual investigations.


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