Prague, Feb 19 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has sent 1275 police officers abroad to help tackle the migrant crisis since 2015, and Czech police are to be deployed there at least by the end of this year, Police President Tomas Tuhy told CTK on Monday.
They will keep going to Macedonia.
The extension of the foreign missions in Serbia is also being discussed. They are scheduled until the end of May, but they may last few months longer, Tuhy said on Monday on the occasion of the departure of 55 Czech police officers for Serbia and Macedonia to protect their borders for the next six weeks.
The migrant crisis burst out in the other half of 2015. According to the police statistics, 804 Czech police served in Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Greece and Slovenia on the basis of bilateral agreements until the end of last year.
This year, 110 policemen have left abroad so far. Further almost 400 have been sent to the Frontex agency’s missions.
The Czech officers have been mainly deployed in the countries along the “Balkans route” which hundreds of thousands of migrants coming from Turkey used, mainly in 2015, to reach Central Europe via the Western Balkans.
There are still problems with refugees on the Greek-Macedonian border. This year, Czech police officers participated in the detention of 314 migrants, Tuhy said.
In the host countries, Czech police officers usually help local police protect the border, supervise the observance of the public order, and make security and road checks.
About one-third of them are experienced officers from previous bilateral missions, while the rest are newcomers, Tuhy said.
The interest in foreign missions is high in the police, he added. The police database registers 400 officers who would like to be sent abroad.
Since the migrant crisis erupted, the Czech Republic has also sent 361 police officers to EU’s Frontex agency, which is in charge of the coast and border patrolling. Their task is to protect the EU’s external border.
Via this agency, Czech police officers served in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Spain. Some 170 officers are expected to work with Frontex this year.
After the last October general election, the new Czech government keeps supporting a stricter protection of the EU outer border and rejects the refugee quotas.
It is of the view that help with the migrant crisis must be based on a voluntary principle within the projects, such as the deployment of police abroad and financial aid to the countries afflicted by a migrant wave.
Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Novacek said this had raised interest among the countries seeking help, but the EU’s position had not much changed.
“They permanently wish solidarity in the form of the relocation of refugees. Our stance remains the same – that the system is not functioning,” Novacek said on Monday, adding that the Czech Republic would try to intensify aid directly in the afflicted countries.