Former Minister of the Interior Kalle Laanet (Reform), who has held senior positions in the police, said that the primary concern for the incoming head of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will be human resources, or how to ensure that there are sufficient police officers to maintain order.
Minister of Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) has proposed Veiko Kommusaar, ministry undersecretary, as the head of Estonia's largest public institution. In addition, the selection committee has shortlisted for review the PPA's two deputy directors-general Krista Aas and Egert Belichev.
Laanet did not specify which of the three candidates would be his top choice for PPA chief.
"I believe that all three applicants are equal in terms of their suitability for the position. It largely depends on the opinion of the minister of the interior as well as the administration, who will decide after hearing the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu. The latter does not have veto power," Laanet explained.
Laanet emphasized that, regardless of who will lead the PPA in the coming years, staff sustainability will be a top priority. Cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and the assistance of volunteers can help to reduce the shortage of police officers, but it cannot replace daily police duties.
"Auxiliary police officers can be helpful, but they cannot, for example, conduct daily 12-hour patrols to maintain street order. It is not common for volunteers to provide such basic operations," Laanet said.
"As a nation, we should make an effort to see that the basic policing functions of the state are carried out by real police officers who report to work every day," the former interior minister said, adding that one of the additional challenges today is that young people value flexible working arrangements and non-fixed working hours.
Laanet said that there are insufficient internal resources available to make the PPA's job more efficient. It is unrealistic to further reduce the size of the police force.
Speaking about border guards, he stressed that owing to the changed security situation more attention must be paid to border protection, which requires serious close cooperation with the military.
Next year, the terms of office of the heads of the Estonian Internal Security Service (Kaitsepolitseiamet), the Estonian Rescue Board (Päästeamet) and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will end, and the minister of the interior will have to fill these positions with new people.
Minister Läänemets (SDE) nominated Margo Palloson and Margo Klaos as new leaders of the Internal Security Service and the Rescue Board, respectively.
The date for the appointment of the new Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief has not yet been announced.
The topic of a potential candidate is not on the agenda of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu this week, Laanet added.
Editor: Kristina Kersa