Norway police union representatives demanded the government pay officers well for leaving their holiday because of Anders Behring Breivik’s terror attacks.
According to a Police Directorate (POD) communication dated 27th July, union shop steward Arne Johannessen warned that their members would not have chosen to travel home otherwise.
His overtime claim, first submitted on 23rd or 24th July at the same time some 80 people were feared killed and the nation mourned, applied to securing maximum payments from the moment officers departed their holidays.
Aftenposten further reports that police union officials demanded extra holiday days for working that weekend.
“It was chaos, and people were provoked that Mr Johannessen used time on union demands during that [particular] situation,” a government source, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells the paper.
Mr Johannessen says he cannot remember exactly when he submitted his claim between 22nd and 24th July, but declares the union has a standard practice for which issues should be clarified and what rules apply in these types of extraordinary circumstances.
“The main goal was to mobilise as many police officers as possible. Consequently, it was important that those who interrupted their holiday were not left having to foot the bill for extra expenses. Ordinary rules are not suited to the extreme situation you are working in during a crisis.”
Not wishing to comment on the contents of minutes from a union-POD meeting on 26th July, he continues, “our members did absolutely everything they could to be there quickly for the nation in a crisis situation.”
“Nevertheless, most people understand that you are an employee when you are asked to be there under such circumstances. The extraordinary efforts should, of course, be remunerated.”
Norwegian police have been heavily criticised for their only helicopter crew being on holiday at the time, not stopping Breivik sooner, response times, and boat problems.
Police Director Øystein Mæland and Justice Minister Grete Faremo apologised for failures. A governmental committee found 14 areas for improvement.
Like this article? Show your appreciation.