Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl is requesting a supplementary explanation from the Police Protective Service (PST) after detailed explanations about the dismissal of police whistleblower Øyvind Tenold.
In several articles, VG has told how Øyvind Tenold He was removed from office As head of the Police Protection Service (PST) in the Western Police District in June – after alerting several of Norway’s most powerful police chiefs: Police Director Benedikt Bjornland, PST Chief Roger Berg and Chief of Police in Bergen Kare Sangstad.
When Denault returned to work in 2019 after a one-year leave, he was told twice that he needed to be authorized to access confidential PST documents: first by the police chief. So by the head of PST.
Denault believes the claim was designed to get rid of him.
He said on Wednesday Minister of Justice for Storting The requirement for dual authentication is legal. This prompted Per-Willy Amundsen, chairman of the Justice Committee at the Storting, to state: Mehl helps create more uncertainty.
Now the justice minister is asking the police’s security forces for more answers.
– I cannot respond to the assessments made before I took office as Minister, but as I mentioned in my reply to the Storting representative (Ingvild Vedrus Thorsvik (v), editor’s note), I informed the BST of the recognition responsibility of the BST. The region’s leaders say PST units have become more accurate over time, says Mehl.
– Today I have no reason to doubt this, but for clarification I asked the PST for a detailed explanation of when and how this practice was changed and the background to it. I am now waiting for PST’s feedback.
May be illegal
In an email to VG, Trond Hugubakken, PST’s communications director, writes that the shared accreditation responsibility for district managers in PST has been discussed in an interim report since 2017 and mentioned in a “governing document for safety” since October 2019.
PST did not respond to VG’s question as to when the requirement was introduced in practice. Police Director Benedikt Bjornland, who was head of the PST during this period, was absent.
Karsten Robb, one of Norway’s leading experts in security law, believes that recognition of the PST. Contrary to the objectives of the Security Act.
Email from the Chief of Police
Denold was approved by the chief of police in the Sør-Vest police district in the summer of 2020 and was ready to re-enter the leadership position in Bergen. Then the need for PST authentication appeared.
Denault refused to listen – fearing that the PST would make a negative accreditation decision.
In several emails, his immediate boss, Police Chief Kare Songstad, demanded that Denault go to an accreditation interview.
– I felt it was a trap, says Ovind Denault.
In an email, Songstad wrote to Denold that he had made such an authorization with the PST.
Today, Songstad tells VG that he never received public authorization for access to PST’s information systems.
Songstad, through his director of communications, says he has been empowered in exchange for access to information in one or more meetings with them. This is different from a normal accreditation interview that Tenault has to do.
– If the requirement for double recognition is not introduced, the dismissal of tenold is carried out on the basis of the absence of work period. What is your opinion on that?
– I have no comment on this, Songstad replied via email.
In his resignation letter to Tennold, the police chief writes that the Western Police District must deal with the fact that Tennold does not have access to classified information, which is a prerequisite to functioning in the position.
– If there is no need for PST authorization or if it is legally binding: why don’t you as an employer decide on it?
– I have no opinion on this.
Øyvind Tenold tells VG that he is happy that the Minister of Justice will reveal the case and the grounds for his dismissal.
Justice politician Ingvild Vedrus Thorsvik (v) has now sent new questions to Justice Minister Mehl:
At what point was the requirement for dual accreditation for local BST chiefs introduced, when was the Ministry of Justice first informed of the new accreditation procedure, and when did the police chiefs in the various police districts, who must also accredit local BST chiefs, be informed of the new practice?