Police director denies "problems" with PM

BELGRADE -- Serbian Police Director Milorad Veljović has stated that he has "never had any problems with Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić".

Milorad Veljović addresses reporters on Friday (Tanjug)
Milorad Veljović addresses reporters on Friday (Tanjug)

He pointed out that combat against corruption would be police’s priority.

“The fact that someone outside the Police Directorate, outside the (Interior) Ministry or maybe inside the ministry tried to create an artificial conflict is those people’s problem and it will float to the surface very fast,” Veljović told the first press conference after his reelection.

When asked about speculation that there had been political pressures during the election of the police director, he pointed out that nobody had pressured him and that he certainly did not try to lobby.

Veljović thanked all those who had trusted his ability to continue to be the police director in the interest of people.

When asked about the long time it had taken to choose the director, he said that the position did not deserve a hasty decision.

Veljović noted that his job was to make sure that the police and Police Directorate help the Interior Ministry be the best ministry and take the position it deserved.

“If I do my job well, it is certain that the minister will be a good minister and if the Police Directorate and I do not do our job well, then all of us will be in trouble,” he stressed and announced that the police’s priority in the future would be combat against corruption and crime and investigation of 24 controversial privatizations.

The police director said that the police had assumed a responsibility to investigate the privatizations and added that nobody would be spared or privileged in the process. He said he expected the cases to be closed by the end of the year but did not want to prejudge results.

According to Veljović, his priority will also be to provide the best possible training and equipment to police officers.

He pointed out that his obligation was to continue to work on depoliticization of the police.

Veljović promised the police would work in accordance with the law, adding that he would do his best to increase the cooperation with media to the highest possible level and that the police would always be open to the public “because we have nothing to hide”.

The police director announced that chiefs of police administrations in the cities of Niš and Novi Sad would be elected in ten days.

He noted that new staffing decisions would be made after consulations with the interior minister and analysis of all problems.

“There is no chaos in the Interior Ministry and police,” Veljović underscored.

He added that one of his priorities would be to bring runaway drug lord Darko Šarić to justice. The police director explained that the police were actively searching for Šarić and that they had certain information and made some progress but that he did not want to say anything more about the case.