Police Chief Describes 2022 As “Extremely Difficult” Year For Czech Security Situation
Vondrasek said there was no sign that the Czech Republic would face less foreign or domestic threats in 2023. Photo credit: KK for Brno Daily.
Olomouc, March 31 (CTK) – 2022 was an extremely difficult year in terms of the security situation in the Czech Republic, police president Martin Vondrasek told the International Conference of Local Police yesterday, due to the COVID measures, the wave of refugees from Ukraine, and a surge in irregular migration. He also highlighted the security measures adopted for the Czech EU presidency.
The number of irregular migrants was 6.5 times higher than in 2015, Vondrasek said. For over four months, the police reintroduced checks on the border with Slovakia, he noted, adding that this problem should not be expected to subside this year.
“If I had to fantasise and dream up some exceptional challenges and security threats for the Czech Republic for five or ten years, I would never have thought of as many problems as we all had to face last year,” Vondrasek said.
There is no sign that the Czech Republic will face less foreign or domestic threats this year than last year, he added.
“We cannot expect crime to fall. Society is deeply polarised, and what was previously solved by a word is now also being solved physically. We have now seen several large rallies, and at the latest one the crowd really pushed and shoved us in front of the National Museum,” Vondrasek said.
“Besides that, we do not know how improving weather will affect the wave of migration from Turkey, where a presidential vote is going to take place,” he added.
According to police statistics from last year, there was an enormous surge in irregular transit migration compared to the previous migrant crisis in 2015. Last year, 21,852 migrants were recorded, primarily from Syria, Turkey and Afghanistan, compared to 1,330 in 2021, and 3,277 in 2015, during the previous migration wave.
The reimposition of checks on the 251-kilometre border with Slovakia was preceded by discussions with the Slovak authorities throughout August and September, Vondrasek said.
“When the number of migrants detained reached 300-400 per day, we proposed to the government to reimpose border checks. From 29 September on, we were protecting the Czech border for over four months,” Vondrasek said.
By 4 February, police officers had served 258 twelve-hour shifts at the border. The number of migrants detained fell to tens within a week.
The police were also busy dealing with the wave of refugees from Ukraine, who sought shelter in the Czech Republic after their country was invaded by Russia. Between March and June, four police contingents with 210 police officers were deployed in Slovakia.
Between 24 February and the end of last year, the police recorded 659,774 Ukrainians in the Czech Republic, with 473,215 visas granted in this period.
The security situation was also affected by a rise in the number of criminal acts, Vondrasek said. Last year, almost 182,000 criminal acts were committed, an annual rise of almost 19%. Over 75,500 people faced criminal prosecution.
Vondrasek also warned of a surge in online crime. “Ten years ago, online crime amounted to about 0.5% of all crime, in 2021 to 5%, and in 2022 to 10%. In a year, there was a 100% rise in online crime,” he added.