Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has stated that despite the Parliamentary Commissioner (i.e. Ombudsman) concluding that the Minister of Justice had been guilty of poor administrative practices (in his decision to green-light the adoption of electroshock weapons by the police), that assessment did not affect the latter’s position within the government. The PM remains of the opinion, however, that the matter should have received a more thorough review from the government, RÚV reports.
Commissioner finds fault
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, the Parliamentary Commissioner (i.e. Ombudsman) maintained that the Minister of Justice had been guilty of a lack of consultation by changing regulations to authorise the use of electroshock weapons among police. The amendment had not been in accordance with “good administrative practices.”
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobdóttir told RÚV yesterday that the issue ought to have been discussed at a cabinet meeting prior to parliamentary deliberations. “I maintain that this would have been the appropriate course of action, particularly since this represents a policy shift,” commented Katrín, who has not altered her stance on this matter.
As noted by RÚV, the Minister of Justice disagrees with the commissioner’s assessment, contending that the amendment did not mark a substantial alteration to regulations governing the use of weapons among police officers. Furthermore, the Minister asserts that the amendment had been discussed in a cabinet meeting two weeks prior to his signing of the regulation. Katrín believes that the amendment required greater consultation:
“The purview of the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice, and as such, it’s his prerogative to modify the regulations,” Katrín told RÚV. However, given her view that the amendment represented a shift in policy, the PM maintains that it ought to have been subjected to greater government scrutiny prior to the Minister of Justice’s endorsement.
Katrín is currently considering the Commissioner’s suggestion that there is a need to draw up clearer rules for the government’s practices, or to revise the code of conduct, in order to prevent such cases from arising again. The issue, however, did not affect “the Minister’s position within the government” nor her “trust in him.”