ZAGREB, Aug 8 (Hina) – A reform of the Croatian police force is about to be launched and it will cover the entire system, with emphasis on digitalisation and faster work, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic has said in an interview with Hina at the start of his second term in office.
“The reform will primarily put emphasis on the use of funds, digitalisation building on the potential shown by the Ministry of the Interior during the coronavirus crisis, and consequently faster work procedures and defining of operational procedures for police officers,” said Bozinovic.
He added that the reform would connect the existing information systems with new European information systems, which, he said, would, among other things, increase internal border security.
The system of civil protection is also expected to be upgraded and a new law on civil protection is to be adopted, while staff will be rejuvenated and the issue of pensions and severance packages for police officers who meet retirement conditions will be regulated, said Bozinovic.
The purpose of the reform is to cut red tape as much as possible, enable the use of modern equipment and enabling police to focus on dealing with crime, making them more visible in the streets, in city neighbourhoods, said Bozinovic.
Asked if the police would in the future film their work, Bozinovic said that that would be one of the reform moves, primarily for the sake of removing what are most often unsubstantiated accusations about police conduct towards citizens or foreigners on the state border.
Bozinovic went on to say that a reform of the Police Directorate was aimed at increasing the number of staff in police stations, with emphasis on operative staff.
The minister also announced a reform of the Ministry of the Interior’s administrative affairs, to shift some of the administrative duties performed by the ministry onto local government bodies or legal entities with public authorities.
He said that he believed the Ministry of the Interior should only stay in charge of issuing citizenship certificates, weapon licences and regulating the stay of foreign nationals.
Asked if the reform would contribute to border protection considering that entry into the Schengen area is one of the national priorities, Bozinovic said that considering migration trends, equipping border police would be one of the priorities of Croatian police as well as the entire EU in the years to come.
We will additionally enhance the technical protection of the border and in that process, we count on considerable money to be absorbed from EU funds, he said.
Asked about the current situation with migrations, Bozinovic said that after a lull caused by the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, migrations had started again following the relaxation of epidemiological restrictions and restrictions on the movement of migrants outside camps in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The number of illegal entries into Croatia today is 14% higher than in the same period last year, the minister said, noting that Croatia did not expect the pressure on its borders to cease but that every day it was technically and personnel-wise better prepared to protect its borders and prevent illegal entries.