Prague, May 18 (CTK) – The Prague Castle Guard will be extended by more than 60 positions within nine months because of broader security measures taken at the complex within which the Czech president has his seat, Petr Prskavec, who has headed the unit since last December, said in an interview with CTK.
He said the soldiers do not have enough time to train because of the new measures.
Prskavec replaced Radim Studeny who left the post after activists climbed up the Castle unnoticed last year and hung a pair of red boxer shorts on its roof. This happened at a time when security measures were being tightened after terrorist attacks in Europe.
The government has already approved the raising of the number of the soldiers by 62. Now, the unit has 610 professional positions and 43 civilian employees. Seventeen positions out the total of positions are not filled.
Recently, the Castle Guard had difficulties finding new people. One of the reasons was the demands placed on the recruits.
About a quarter of people interested in joining the military pass the physical and psychological tests, while this is only true of 15 percent of Guard Castle applicants.
One of the demands placed on them is that they must not have tattooing or piercing in visible places. The former is one of the reasons why more veterans of the military foreign missions cannot join the Guard Castle.
The tightened measures taken at Prague Castle include random checks and mobile iron barriers preventing the entry of cars have been placed at the entrance into the Prague Castle complex.
A part of the southern Castle gardens which neighbour on the southern wing of the Castle in which the president has his office has been closed.
Prskavec said he would only let controlled groups of tourists into the Castle complex, which is now open to all, who would move around it in an organised way.
“This is actually habitual elsewhere in the world, too,” Prskavec said.
He added that this would be the best solution for both the head of state and Castle visitors. However, this will always clash with tourism demands, Prskavec said.