By criticising an employee who wrote an opinion piece in the police newspaper, a police chief infringed that employee’s freedom of expression

An employee of the Police Authority was called to an awareness-raising meeting. According to the Police Authority, the purpose of such a meeting is to find out the causes of misconduct and clarify what requirements are to be imposed on the employee’s future behaviour. One of the points raised at the meeting was an opinion piece in the police newspaper that the employee had written.

According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, based on the Police Authority’s description of an awareness-raising meeting, what is raised during such a dialogue can typically be seen as a reprimand. The scope for raising issues in the interview in relation to an employee’s exercising of their freedom of expression is extremely limited.

At the meeting, the Local Police Area Commander made various negative statements about the fact the employee had written the article. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, these statements went beyond what is permitted and may be seen as an infringement of the prohibition of reprisals in the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. The Local Police Area Commander is criticised for this.

Date of decision: 2024-02-22