Acting Premier Mihai Fifor sacked Chief of Police Bogdan Despescu on Wednesday and appointed Catalin Ionita as his replacement, for a six-month term. Main Police Quaestor Catalin Alexandru Ionita is 41 years of age and has been head of the Interior Ministry’s General Anticorruption Directorate since 2016.
“Acting Prime Minister Mihai-Viorel Fifor signed today the decision to dismiss Mr Bogdan Despescu from the office of Chief Inspector of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, with the rank of secretary of state. At the same time, the acting Premier signed the decision to appoint Mr Alexandru-Catalin Ionita as Chief Inspector of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, for a period of six months, with the rank of secretary of state. The acting Prime Minister took both decisions at the proposition of Interior Minister Carmen Dan. The two decisions will come into force once they are published in the Official Journal,” reads a Government communique.
On January 9, as the Romanian Police was rocked by the scandal of the policeman accused of sexual assault against two children, Interior Minister Carmen Dan asked Premier Mihai Tudose to dismiss Chief of Police Bogdan Despescu and to replace him with Catalin Ionita. Premier Mihai Tudose refused her request, asking Bogdan Despescu to present a report in a week’s time.
Subsequently, Mihai Tudose accused Carmen Dan of lying to him, stating he no longer wants to work with her and that he would accept her resignation if she is allowed to tender it. Carmen Dan refused to resign, and the conflict resulted in the PSD Executive Committee deciding on Monday to withdraw its political support for Premier Mihai Tudose, the latter resigning as a result.
Bogdan Despescu’s message at end of mandate: Time will prove that I acted correctly
“I am aware that our efforts, the efforts of those for whom the job of police officer is a vocation, can be easily overshadowed by the isolated behaviour of those who failed to understand that your policeman’s uniform does not put you above the law. Such a case, to which we paid special attention, has been in the news in recent days,” Bogdan Despescu said, referring to the case of Bucharest Traffic Police officer Eugen Stan, who has been charged with several counts of paedophilia.
Bogdan Despescu says he took all measures necessary to find the aggressor and to hold accountable those who disregarded their duties, as well as to establish the causes that led to this situation. He states he wanted to allow the investigation to clarify some aspects, refusing to take part in the public discussions.
“In what concerns me, I express my conviction that time will prove that the way I acted was correct. In fact, my professional activity has always been characterised by respect for the law, integrity and objectivity, and one of the commitments undertaken was zero tolerance for any individual who broke the law, regardless of his/her capacity,” the former Chief of Police said.
Likewise, he states that even though his time in office was difficult, it was nevertheless a beautiful period featuring challenges and complex cases solved, and that even though the system faces a shortage of manpower the citizens did not feel this aspect because policemen carried out their activity with dedication and sacrifice, and the results showed it, the crime rate being the lowest in the last 10 years.
At the end of his message, Bogdan Despescu adds that he knows that being a policeman is not an easy job, but it becomes a way of life when done with passion and respect for the community and the law. He expresses his confidence in policemen and asks them to continue to do their job with professionalism, regardless of context.