Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said on Wednesday that he would compensate for his ministry's reduced budget by reorganising expenditure and announced that he would soon meet with the leader of the Serb National Council (SNV), Milorad Pupovac, who recently claimed that last year there was an increase in the number of ethnically motivated violence, threats and hate speech against Serbs in Croatia.
"Very soon I will organise a meeting with Pupovac to see what exactly he was referring to. Rest assured that the Croatian police will act according to civilisational norms," Orepic told reporters.
Orepic confirmed that the ministry would have less funding available from the budget. "We will have 170 million kuna less, however, we can compensate that by reorganising expenditure within the ministry," he said.
He claimed that the ministry would work "more rationally and efficiently" and that "costs would be scaled down to what is necessary."
Orepic added that despite the reduced budget, there would be enough money for an increase in police wages.
"When I stepped into office I noticed an unjust disparity in salaries of police and customs officers. The difference in the coefficients is significant and I consider that to be intolerable," Orepic said, noting that police officers had a lower coefficient than customs officers.
"I am aware that at the moment we do not have the money and we will not dip into the state budget but will distribute what we have a little more justly," Orepic said.
"The first step is to reorganise salaries and allowances and in that way I hope that around May 1 we will have a pay rise of an average HRK 226 for 5,911 police officers. The goal is to equate police and customs officers' salaries as they should be at the same level," he said.