Government approves new rules for choosing police head

While Smer and Most-Híd do not have a problem with the changes, SNS and opposition see several worrying points.

Interior Minister Denisa Saková (l) and acting Police Corps President Milan Lučanský (r)Interior Minister Denisa Saková (l) and acting Police Corps President Milan Lučanský (r) (Source: TASR)

The name of the new Police Corps president will be known in the first half of next year and it is possible that the acting police head, Milan Lučanský, will continue in the post if he participates in the selection procedure, the Sme daily reported.

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If he succeeds in the process and is subsequently appointed to the post, it is quite possible he will remain even during the rule of the new government, formed after the 2020 general election.

This will be possible thanks to the new rules approved by the government on September 26. The new rules stipulate that the tenure of the Police Corps president, which is currently unlimited, will be four years. It also allows the repeated candidacy of the incumbent police head, Sme wrote.

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The new rules for the selection still need to be approved by the parliament.

“I hope we will be able to appoint the first Police Corps president in the first half of 2019,” said Interior Minister Denisa Saková (Smer), as quoted by Sme, believing that the law will come into force next January.

The ministry will subsequently publish the conditions for the post and then announce a selection procedure.

Read also: New rules for police chief election are a disappointment Read more 

It is not clear now whether Lučanský will actually run for the post. As he told Sme, at the moment it is not a topic of the day for him.

What will change?

The Police Corps president will still be appointed by the interior minister. Unlike the past, the person will be selected during a selection procedure that will be open to all applicants. They will have to meet several conditions though, including at least 10 years in active service, having a university degree and still being in active service.

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The candidates will be subsequently evaluated by a seven-member commission. Two members will be selected by the interior minister, and one by the general prosecutor, the Police Corps president, the head of the police inspectorate, the director of the Police Academy and the police trade unions. The commission will select a group of appropriate candidates, out of whom the minister will pick at least three to be later evaluated by the parliamentary defence and security committee.

The candidates will then undergo a hearing before a committee, which will recommend the final candidates out of whom the minister will pick one. If the committee fails to recommend anyone, the Interior Ministry will announce a new selection procedure, Sme reported.

It will also be possible to dismiss the Police Corps president, but the proposal will have to be supported by three-fifths of the parliamentary defence and security committee’s members.

SNS critical of the first proposal

The new rules for selecting heads of both the Police Corps and the police inspectorate were first introduced by Saková in late August. At the time, she wanted the Police Corps president to remain in the post for seven years.

The proposal was criticised by the coalition Slovak National Party (SNS), which said it would “not support cementing any state functionaries at their posts”.

Read also: Former police president now working as adviser at Interior Ministry Read more 

However, the party remains critical of the current compromise, too. It would be ideal if the selection of the police leaders remained the same as it is now, said party’s deputy chair Anton Hrnko.

SNS MP Tibor Bernaťák told Sme that they will try to change some details during the parliamentary discussion.

On the other hand, Most-Híd does not have any problem with the rules. Also PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) called the proposal a good compromise, Sme wrote.

Similarly to SNS, the opposition parties are critical of the changes, saying that the ruling parties want to cement their people in the leading positions in the police.

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