According to the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, Tiit Terik, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets, when talking about handing over the detention and guarding of drunk people to the city of Tallinn, gives the impression that if the state can no longer handle its own tasks, it will put it on the necks of the municipalities.
“It is interesting to find out through the media what obligations the state intends to place on the shoulders of municipalities. One gets the impression that if we can no longer manage ourselves and we need to cut our costs, we will let the municipalities do it,” said Terik.
Since an official appeal to the city about taking over the detention of drunk people from the police has not been received, according to Terik, it would be premature to start speculating about what the details of the service could be and how the transportation of drunk people to the rehabilitation center should look like.
According to the deputy mayor, Tallinn has been requesting additional powers from the state for law enforcement officers of the municipal police for many years in order to facilitate their work and also reduce the burden on the police.
“It also has the support of the police, because the usual practice has been that, since the mupo does not have the right to use direct coercion and detain people, the police have had to be called in for every minor violation. Until now, the government has opposed it,” said Terik.
According to him, the Union of Estonian Cities and Towns has also drawn attention to the need to give additional powers to local government law enforcement officers, but so far no progress has been made in this regard. “That’s why it seems hypocritical to start talking about delegating tasks to municipalities without the necessary legal changes,” added the deputy mayor.
Currently, an average of about 500 people a month use the service of the rehabilitation center, including citizens of nearby municipalities and foreign countries. “Before such negotiations and delegation of tasks begin, the legislative framework should be changed. It should also be taken into account that in the event of additional responsibilities, sufficient resources and training must accompany it,” emphasized Terik.
Speaking about cost savings, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets said that in order to achieve more effective cooperation, the Tallinn detention center should be connected to the Tallinn prison, because there is enough space and the necessary personnel there. “When the detention center is closed, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) could direct the released resources to other police activities,” Minister Läänemets said.
According to the Minister of the Interior, he has also aimed to expand the rights of local government law enforcement officers, which has been talked about for years, which would give an opportunity to transfer to Tallinn, for example, the task of detaining and guarding people under the influence of alcohol. “In this case, the PPA would only have to deal with aggressive drunk people. However, the municipality could offer the necessary social services to people repeatedly brought to the rehabilitation center, because alcoholism is primarily a disease that needs treatment, not punishment,” Läänemets explained.