Just over half a year ago, I proposed that we needed “a new Kåre Willoch”, in order to reemphasize the focus on the need for a Ministry of Safety and Emergency. Today with the new government, we got it half way! We have got a new Minister for public security, but the responsibility for preventive safety in industry, in the traffic and in the public sector is still where they used to be, in Ministry of labour and social affairs, Ministry of transport and Ministry of justice.
There have been several incidents the last few years where lack of security focus has been very visible, and in some respects the improvement after the tragic events of 22.7.2011 have been shown to be lacking somewhat. It is therefore understandable that public security is in the forefront of attention at the moment, also considering the new security law in Norway from 1.1.2019.
We will hope that this new ministry over time will evolve into a full safety, security and emergency ministry in line with the proposal from Kåre Willoch’s committee in 2001. In some ways, the severe critisism made by the Auditor General of PSA’s supervisory work is also an indication that such a ministry is needed.
It is interesting to note that according to anecdotes, the new Minister of justice from the Liberal party vetoed the creation of a safety and emergency ministry in 2001 (because he wanted to retain the attractive responsibility), when the plan was to follow Kåre Willoch’s proposal with the new non-labour coalition government in 2001. Now almost 20 year later, the current Minister of justice is happy to shed this task to a fellow minster from the Progress party. Probably, security has become much more of a burden the last ten years, such that it is more appealing to let this task go.