Reykjavík Police Chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir has been found to have violated the Administrative Procedure Act by temporarily relieving a policeman in the narcotics division of his duties in January, RÚV reports. She was found to have based her decision primarily on rumors. This is the conclusion of the Ministry of the Interior.
The ministry has repealed the police chief’s decision. The man was put on temporary leaveand half pay in January after the district prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into his alleged violations on the job. He was suspected of inappropriate communication with offenders, who had been under investigation by the narcotics department.
The man had previously been transferred twice within the police office, due to rumors and media coverage of alleged violations. The investigation cleared him of all charges and he was offered to return to work in the forensics division.
The police officer reported the decision of the police chief to have him relieved of his duties to the Ministry of the Interior, which now has ruled in the matter. In its ruling, the ministry criticizes the police chief for not basing her decision on evidence, but mainly on accounts and rumors.
The ministry believes the police chief went too far in her decision and emphasizes the severe consequences for an officer to be relieved of his duties. The article the police chief violated, according to the ministry is Article 12, Principle of Proportionality. It reads:
“A public authority shall reach an adverse decision only when the lawful purpose sought cannot be attained by less stringent means. Care should then be taken not to go further than necessary.”
Thus, the ministry concludes that Sigríður Björk had no authority to place the officer on temporary leave, and, therefore, nullifies that decision.