Municipalities regain control of local police

After more than a year spent under the control of the Ministry of the Interior, local police forces are finally, once again, subordinate to local authorities. Minister of the Interior Lucian Bode’s announcement answers a joint demand from local authorities; the move affects roughly 10,000 employees countrywide.

The transfer, however, does not absolve the local police forces from duties assigned to them by the National Police during the pandemic.

Under the authority of mayors, police forces’ main duties are to enforce local ordinances and assist the National Police and Gendarmeries in maintaining order.

Given the ongoing pandemic rules, local police officers must also check in on individuals in quarantine or isolation. With the number of coronavirus infections skyrocketing, police have been completely overwhelmed with this task, leaving less time to fulfill other important local duties, Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe Mayor Árpád Antal highlighted at a press conference. This means settlements are struggling to solve public order and tranquility.

The institution of local police is financed by local authorities. Even upon being placed under the subordination of the Ministry of the Interior on March 14, 2020, when Romania declared a state of emergency, the financing of this institution — controlled by the National Police — remained the responsibility of local authorities.

Title image: Local police officer on duty at Székelyudvarhely/Odorheiu Secuiesc. Image source: Székelyudvarhely Local Police’s Facebook page

Author: István Fekete