The controversial national commissioner of the Icelandic Police, Haraldur Johannessen, has finally decided to step down. That said, he will continue to get a commissioner’s salary, which is over 1 million ISK per month, for two years more, reports RÚV.
Haraldur took the role of national commissioner in 1998 when the office was created. Throughout the years he has been a target of criticism. Earlier this year, several police forces came forward to declare that they considered him unfit for the job, denouncing his exaggerated spending and poor management. Other aspects of his administration raised waves when the chair of the Reykjavík Police Officers Union accused Haraldur of “ruling by fear”.
After the much-requested decision to retire, Haraldur is leaving the force with an agreement that has caused outrage. The termination agreement states that he will stay on the payroll for the full year of 2021, with a monthly salary of 1,750,000 ISK. During this time he is supposed to take on the job of advising the Minister of Justice on changes to the organisation of law enforcement. At the beginning of 2022, Haraldur will take a paid leave of three months as a reward for the years he spent as the National Police Commissioner.
The chairman of Iceland’s biggest labour union (VR), Ragnar Þór, said to Vísir that this agreement shines a light on the advantage Icelandic society gives to the people who are in power. “It is unbelievable that we have a political privilege that gives completely different laws to ordinary people,” he explained. “We, who work within the trade union movement, must demand that we have the same rules for everyone.”
We wish Haraldur the best and hope that he will be able to survive on that meagre salary. Get used to ramen!
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