Some Czech riot police to deploy during risky football matches and neo-Nazi marches
Since the start of this year, the riot police unit of the Moravian-Silesian Regional Police is operating according to new principles. The main innovation is that police officers assigned to the unit will not perform other activities. In the past, the officers also worked at various district police departments, which sometimes made it complicated to convene them. Now at least 40 specially trained police officers are prepared to take action on a non-stop basis. Their commander, Robert Kuhn, announced the news to the Czech Press Agency today.
"The newly established Special Order Unit has a total of 170 police officers who work in shifts. Each group of 40 police officers is on duty for 24 hours. The other members of the unit are at home on alert. They can be summoned at any time," Kuhn explained, adding that previously, the practice had been completely different, with police officers ordinarily performing other activities and only being deployed with the unit in the event of need.
The Moravian-Silesian regional unit is the third in the country with such specially designated police officers. "Until now, such units operated this way only in Brno and Prague. In addition to Ostrava, we have been pushing for them to be established in Ústí nad Labem, but for economic reasons that has not yet succeeded there," said Police Vice-President Jiří Novák, who also said the main advantage of the new setup for the units is that the operational deployment of police officers to places of need can take place without weakening security elsewhere.
The use of the units will remain the same. Police leadership counts on deploying them primarily during risky football matches or marches by neo-Nazis and right-wing radicals. They will also go into action during extensive searches. "We will continue to intervene during extraordinary events, such as, for example, the railway accident in Studénka or the 2009 and 2010 floods," said Kuhn.
The unit is comprised of police officers who have undergone a demanding selection process. They include both current members of the riot police and complete rookies. "They are specially trained. Higher demands are made of them," said Tomáš Tuhý, the director of the Moravian-Silesian Police,adding that the police will not have to hire replacements for the officers who have left other jobs. Some of the new police officers have come from the ranks of the Aliens' Police. "We have reshuffled the distribution of forces elsewhere. We will not be lacking any police officers anywhere," he explained.
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