POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


Vinko Gorenak

This paper deals with the organizational changes in the Slovenian Police in the period after 1990. For better understanding of these organizational changes and of the status of police in our State the author presents at the beginning the essential characteristics of our police after the year 1945. He then continues his presentation with the actual organization of the Ministry of the Interior from the State level throughout the regional down to the local level. In the central part of the paper the author describes the most important organizational changes within the Ministry of the Interior and ends his presentation with a foreseen conclusion of the reorganization process of the Police within the frame of the Ministry of the Interior on the State level.


During the period of the past few years we have been witnesses of such global changes of social order in Eastern Europe as well as in Slovenia, as often couldn't be experienced by whole generations. Such changes of course represent a radical change also for social subsystems and they have to be carried out in a relatively short period. The Slovenian Police experienced during this period extremely large changes, which could not possibly be envisioned some years ago.

It is not my intention to write in details about what happened in Slovenian Police during the cited period, I would therefore like to present in the first part of this paper a brief historical overview of the organization of the police in Slovenia and point out the organizational changes which have already been carried out. In the last part of the paper I would like to indicate some starting points for the organizational changes in the future.


Rather strong centralization of the police was typical for the whole territory of Slovenia in the period from 1945 to 1966, however the number of police units itself continued to diminish from year to year. A very important characteristics from the end of this period was also a practically complete transfer of competencies of the organization of police on the republics of former Yugoslavia. Thus Slovenia, at that time one of Yugoslav republics, got a police force of its own, which practically had nothing more to do with Belgrade, neither on organizational or on responsibility level. During that period it also became, from the ethnic point of view, a completely Slovenian police, which has shown itself as a very important factor during the attainment of the independence of Slovenia.

A very strong decentralization is a characteristic trait of the period after 1967. Police stations became independent authorities of the communes for direct carrying out of issues of public safety. They were established by the communes in accordance with the Republican Secretary of the Interior. Their commanders, deputy-commanders and commanders of police divisions were appointed and relieved by communes in accordance with the Republican Secretary of the Interior. The number of police stations continued to diminish also in that period up to 1980.

At the end of this survey it should be pointed out, that the tasks and duties of police stations also changed accordingly during that period, though in a much smaller extent. Immediately after the World war II the tasks of the police stations were oriented principally towards the protection of goods acquired during the national liberation fight, to the protection of people and their property, keeping public order and safety, etc. Later on, their tasks were already similar to the nowadays "classic" police duties, of course with some specific tasks that appeared in certain periods, which means their larger or lesser connection with local community for the carrying out of various tasks. The police stations in the communities along the State border carry out the control of the passengers traffic across the State border, however they also carry out certain tasks in the area of protection of the Constitutional order. The organizational scheme of the police did not change essentially until 1990. The new conditions that appeared after 1990 requested important organizational changes, which have started in 1990 and have not yet been completely finished.


The Slovenian police is currently organized on three levels: on State, regional and local levels. Important organizational changes occurred on all three levels after 1990; we could say that the process of reorganization is over on the local and on the regional level, while it will be finished on the State level only after the adoption of competent legislation.

3.1 Ministry of the Interior

The Ministry of the Interior is a Slovenian authority competent for the area of internal affairs. The organizational scheme of the Ministry of the Interior is shown on Graph No.1.

The tasks of the Ministry of the Interior are defined by the Act on Internal Affairs. This Act defines the internal affairs as the issues of:

The cited Act defines in details the tasks of the Ministry of the Interior. Hereinafter we shall cite only some of the most important tasks, such as:

The Ministry of the Interior is composed of various operational services. All these services had experienced some important changes during the past few years, changes which were conditioned by some external and internal factors. The operational (or operative) services are:

Basic tasks of individual operational services are the following:

The Police Directorate is basically a professional guiding, control and co-ordination service covering the area of public order protection and general police matters in the area of road traffic, and in the issues regarding the crossing and protection of State border, other border issues and foreigners.

The Criminal Investigation Directorate directly covers on one side the most demanding operative tasks in the area of criminality, while on the other side it is a professional guiding, control and co-ordination service covering the area of criminality.

The Operative and Communications Center is actually a permanent on duty service, responsible for co-ordination between all operative service within the Ministry of the Interior and in relation towards the regional Public Safety Administrations.

The Bureau for Protection and Security is the service of the Ministry of the Interior that ensures the protection and security of certain personalities and buildings, either alone or in co- operation with other services.

Special Unit is basically dealing with tasks regarding the fight against terrorism and some other tasks.

The Ministry of the Interior has of course also many other services, which are, however, those that support and enable the functioning of the operative services.

3.2 Public Safety Administrations

Public safety Administrations are the components of the Ministry of the Interior responsible for the execution of their tasks in certain areas of our State. There are 11 Public Safety Administrations altogether, which are shown in scheme No.2.

The Act defines the tasks of the Public Safety Administrations as well, therefore we shall enumerate just some of the most important:

The Slovenian State is now divided into eleven regional Public Safety Administrations. The Public Safety Administrations are divided in the following internal organizational units:

Essential tasks of various services within the Public Safety Administrations are as follows:

The Police Inspectorate is basically a guiding, control and co-ordination service for police stations with general and special field of work, it is mainly responsible for the area of public order and safety, border issues and foreigners and road traffic safety.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau performs on one side the guiding, control and co- ordination function in the area of crime suppression for police stations with general field of work, while on the other side it directly operatively investigates all serious criminal offenses.

The Operative and Communications Center is actually a permanent on duty service responsible for the coordination between all operative police services in the Public Safety Administration and with the police stations. This is actually the service which enables an immediate and effective reaction in all safety issues which are dealt with by the police.

The Office of the Head of the Public Safety Administration is the service that enables the Head of the PSA to manage the whole police force in the region. This service has to deal with the problems of personnel and organizational nature, with complaints against policemen, with internal police protection, security and other problems.

The Logistic Support Service carries out the tasks that are of common material and financial interest for the whole Administration.

3.3 Police stations

Police stations represent the third and thus the basic level of the organization of Slovenian police. The process of reorganization of the police on this level went on for four years and the present organization of the police on this level exists since January 1, 1996.

On local level we now have the following types of stations:

Apart from the police stations we have also the police details and police offices on local level. The police stations and details are shown on graph No.3.

There are at least twenty policemen in the smallest police stations, however in some of the largest ones there are even over two hundred police officers. Police details count from ten to twenty policemen. The police offices do not function as institutions, they are just police premises, where police officers work occasionally, though with a known time schedule defined in advance.

Police stations have their own internal structure which is adapted to the tasks they have to perform in certain areas. They can thus have:

The size and the existence of various groups depend on where an individual police station is situated and what kind of tasks it must perform.


Slovenian police had to adapt its own internal structure to new conditions already in 1990, when intensive preparations for the independence of Slovenia were on their way. A number of organizational changes was necessary to enable effective functioning of the police in a multiparty system and in an independent State at the same time.

In order to carry out such organizational changes in time, as well as effectively and coordinated, a special project went on its way at that time, called the Public safety project, later on renamed the Police Project. Within this project a number of organizational changes were carried out after 1990, which will be present briefly hereinafter.

Within the Police Directorate a special group of police officer worked until 1991, which was then essentially enlarged with new officers in 1991 and represented a basis on which the Special Unit of the Police was established. Its primary tasks are the fight against terrorism and some other tasks.

Analysis have shown that police did not pay enough attention to the relations with the public, thus in 1991 a special service was established, which began with systematic and organized public relations.

The Operative and Communications Center was established as a modern, well equipped service for guiding and heading of initial police measures on all fields of work. We have one such center on State level and eleven centers on regional levels.

The foundation of the new independent State of Slovenia required at the same time also the regulation of certain fields of work which were until then known, or were dealt with only partially. At that time it meant especially the establishment of the Slovenian Transient Home for Foreigners.

After the international recognition of Slovenia as an independent State we had to take over also the responsibility for the safety of foreign diplomatic missions in Slovenia, which in turn required the establishment of a special Bureau for Protection and Security.

We have to mention also the foundation of the Bureau of Interpol for Slovenia, which was one of the results of Slovenian independence as well.

Some additional tasks for Slovenian police appeared in October, 1991, at the time of the departure of Yugoslav Army from Slovenia. The Army was namely responsible for the protection of the green border towards Austria, Italy and Hungary. This meant a number of new tasks for Slovenian police, which were carried out by police stations.

The establishment of an independent State meant also an immediate foundation of 34 border crossing points with the Republic of Croatia, which in turn demanded some quick organizational adaptations of the work of our police.

The most sweeping preparations for the reorganization of the police took place on local level. The organization of the police on local level was extremely adapted to the administrative- political organization, besides, the analysis pointed out a too large fragmentation of police stations and divisions as well as a large deficiency of specialization.


Whenever we talk about further organizational changes we have to understand extremely important global changes in Slovenia. Slovenia went, on one side, through a global change of the social system with transition on the multiparty system, while on the other side it became an independent State. It means that a thorough transformation of the whole State administration is coming to an end in Slovenia, including of course also the transformation of the police.

The process of organizational changes on local level, i.e., on the level of police stations, was concluded at the beginning of this year (1996). A completely new organization of the police was established on that level. We are now planing some thorough analyses of the consequences of organizational changes. If analyses show good results we will keep the present organization on the local level, however, if changes will be needed, they will be carried out.

There are no important changes envisioned in the next period on the regional level, i.e. on the level of the present Public Safety Administrations, since such changes were already carried out during the past four years.

However, it can be noticed that the process of the reorganization of the Police on State level is not over yet. There is more than one reason for this fact, but it must be mentioned that the most important one is the fact that the Police Law was not adopted yet. We expected that this Law will give organizational basis of our police as a relatively independent institution within the framework of the Ministry of the Interior. If that Law is adopted in such a form as we expect, it will enable the formation of the General Police Administration as an entity within the Ministry of the Interior, on regional level the present Public Safety Administrations will change into Police Administrations, while on the local level no organizational changes are expected so far.


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