Law enforcement in the Czech Republic
Law enforcement in the Czech Republic is divided between several agencies. The widest scope of authority is vested with the Police of the Czech Republic, which is mainly limited as regards fields that fall within the authority of other agencies.
|Agency||Scope of operation||Area of operation||No. of officers||Governmental authority||Seal||Car livery|
|Police of the Czech Republic||General law enforcement, investigation of any misdemeanors and crimes that don't fall within jurisdiction of other agency||Nationwide, divided into 14 regional HQs||40.500||Ministry of Interior|
|Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic||Apart from fire and other rescue service, also supervision of compliance with fire prevention and safety laws.||Nationwide||10.200||Ministry of Interior|
|The Customs Administration of the Czech Republic||Collection of taxes (which belong to the Republic) and custom duties (which belong to the European Union), supervision of imports and exports, supervision of trade with trademarks, licenses, endangered animal species, combating illicit drugs crime, illegal immigration. Authorized also to stop vehicles and search them for possible contraband, etc.||Nationwide||14.600||Ministry of Finance|
|Prison Service of the Czech Republic||Mainly runs and guards prisons, but includes also Judicial Guard that is responsible for safeguarding the courthouses or providing protection to individual judges, state attorneys or court clerks (when needed). Also conducts criminal investigation of crimes that take place within prison houses.||Mainly within buildings under its authority||10.700||Ministry of Justice|
|General Inspection of Security Forces||Investigation of crimes committed by members of Czech Law enforcement agencies (policemen, Custom service officials, prison guards, etc.)||Nationwide||280||Prime Minister|
|Security Information Service||Authority in the field of counterintelligence, counter-terrorism, monitoring of extremist organizations, etc.||Nationwide||Unknown||Government of the Czech Republic|
|Office of Foreign Relations and Information||Foreign intelligence service.||Worldwide||Unknown||Government of the Czech Republic|
Any municipality in the Czech Republic, no matter how large or small, may decide to establish a Municipal police (Czech: Obecní policie or Městská policie in cities) by a local ordinance. Municipal police authority is generally limited to the area of given municipality, however neighboring municipalities may conclude agreement which extends authority of a given municipal police also over its territory (this is usually used by small municipalities located adjacent to large towns in order to save funds). Municipal police department is controlled by the mayor or another authorized member of the municipal council. The emergency phone number of the municipal police is 156.
Municipal police have jurisdiction over misdemeanors, supervise and protect the safety of citizens and properties, public order, collaborate within their competence with the state police in terms of safety on the roads, deal with offenses and other wrongs, etc. Officers of municipal police are armed and usually patrol on foot, bike, or car. Municipal police cannot investigate crimes and doesn't take investigations, municipal policemen secure the suspects on the scene (also can transport suspects to the nearest state police station) and hand the case further to the state police for investigation. Officers of the municipal police in large cities are the basic public order keepers. Many municipal police agencies have common radio frequency with the state police to provide better and quicker response. This system is highly used in larger cities where it often happens that several municipal and state police units arrive to the scene at the same time. Municipal police often conducts common safety policing campaigns with the state police. Cooperation in general is on very high level.
Unlike the state police officers, the municipal police officers are regarded as civilians. While in many other countries in Europe the municipal policemen are unarmed, the Czech municipal police officers all have firearms which they carry openly. Due to their civilian status they need to obtain a D category gun license in order to be able to be armed. However, while on duty, they have a public peacekeeper status and are protected by law. Anyone, who attacks municipal police officer, is judged under stricter paragraphs and his penalty is higher.
Supervision of adherence to laws in specific areas is handed to authority of sworn watchmen (Czech: stráž). Watchmen are civilians who conduct their duties with vested public authority. Watchmen generally have the authority to request identification of persons in their jurisdiction and issuing fines for breaches of respective laws. Due to their very limited authority, they may request assistance of municipal or state police when needed. When necessary, they may also detain a person until the state police arrives - anyone is legally obliged to obey their order to wait for the arrival of state police. In case that watchmen want to be armed, they need to obtain a gun license as any other civilian. Unlike members of Municipal Police, they need to carry their firearms concealed.
There are the following watches in the Czech Republic:
- Environmental Watch (Czech: stráž přírody) - jurisdiction in the area of protection of environment, most usually in the natural reserve areas or places where endangered species may be found
- Forest Watch (Czech: lesní stráž) - jurisdiction in the area of usage of woods, especially as regards lumbering, reforestation, etc.
- Gamekeepers' Watch (Czech: myslivecká stráž) - jurisdiction in the area of adherence to hunting laws
- Fishing Watch (Czech: rybářská stráž) - jurisdiction in the area of adherence to fishing laws (freshwater fishing is very popular in the country)
- Municipal police of the Czech Republic - Městská policie - article about service of municipal (local) police in the cities of the Czech Republic