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An interview with Tomáš Tuhý, President of the Police ČR

“It Is Necessary to Strengthen the Police Force.”

 President of the Police Tomáš Tuhý has a simple motto: In life, don´t believe those who deceive you, and don´t betray those who believe you. What is his assessment of his first year in this position? And what about his opinion of the political attempts to influence the work of the police in the Czech Republic?

Dear President of the Police, your first year in the position is over. What do you consider “your” biggest success of the year? 

Regarding my work, of course my biggest success is the appointment as President of the Police. It is a great responsibility, and from this position one can see the problems of the Czech police from a new angle. Over the last years, due to many external issues, the police force has been quite unstable. Now, the situation is visibly calmer, as I was able to create a close team of deputies and workmates whom I consider quality managers. This has definitely brought stability to the force.  We were able to return at least part of the debt which previous governments owed to our police officers. In 2010, police officers´ income decreased by 10%, which threw many of them into financial crisis. By the end of last year, thanks to long and intensive negotiations, and the understanding of the current Minister of Interior and the government, we were able to return at least a part of this money. I consider this a great success, especially during a time of cost-saving measures. I am glad that we managed to do this, however we will keep negotiating until the entire 10% is returned to police officers.

What success would you highlight regarding the Police in general?

We were able to solve crimes with a better rate of success, which is thanks to the work of police officers at district departments, regional criminal departments, and national departments. Through criminal proceedings we secured assets worth almost 7.5 billion CZK. We were able to partly equip the police with new techniques, cars, arms, and we are currently working on the necessary replacement of uniforms. I want the police officers to have good working conditions. And I should not forget Kobra – the cooperation agreement signed between Customs, the Financial Directorate, and the Czech Police regarding the prosecution of tax crimes. Kobra has already “bitten” several times, and recently with a great success – criminal officers from the Department for Corruption and Financial Crime Detection pressed charges against five persons guilty of tax evasion, in the amount of more than 1 billion CZK. These are all national issues, however our citizens´ greatest concern is common everyday crime. Therefore the most important fact is that the number of petty thefts decreased, and we have been successful in the detection of violent offences.

What tasks lie ahead for you this year? In terms of short-term tasks.

This year we are planning to modernize part of our vehicle fleet. Recently we acquired a new, special off-road vehicle and special barges that should help at times of natural disasters. I must mention that the police force was underfunded for a long time, which now must be made up for. Regarding safety measures, we are currently working on the May Hockey Championship to keep everyone safe. Later this year, a big change should come to our rank insignias. If everything passes the approval process, the police will have a new design on their uniforms and shoulder insignias. These will correspond with our historical patterns, and for better clarity will be designated in gold and silver. The uniforms should be of a more practical design and quality material. And so I cannot complain that I don´t have enough work, as I have only mentioned just fragments of what lays ahead. 

And what about long-term challenges for the police?

It is necessary to strengthen the police force. I think it is more than obvious where the world is heading. Every day we hear of corruption, drugs, terrorism, organized crime, cyber crimes, etc.. We cannot avoid these threats, we must adjust, and multiply our efforts for the prevention of crime. Our battle with tax crime remains our priority. The police must be prepared for these modern crimes, both personally as well as technically.

How do you cooperate with other law enforcement agencies? After all, communication within the civil service sector is often complicated.

The cooperation functions between executive bodies, regional directorates, and territorial departments. We share common drills, so nothing would be possible without the other bodies of the Integrated Rescue System.

Have you seen any political attempts to influence the work of the police?

No, I don´t feel any political pressure on the police force, nor any influence from the political structure. Generally, as the top representative of the police force, I can say that it would not be a step in the right direction for politics to influence the work of law enforcement. I took my office with the intention of managing the police force as an apolitical organization, and so far I believe we are doing well in this respect, with the team currently serving at the police presidium.

What do you think about those who say that the police force is weak in the prosecution of petty crime, and inefficient monitoring big political affairs?

Regarding petty crime, the police force must do better. However, there are more factors involved. Among them is the insufficient amount of personnel within the police force. Currently, we do not have the personnel to increase our focus on prevention of petty crimes. We are striving to increase our numbers, which would radically increase the number of police in the streets, which of course would enable us to better fight petty crime.

And the idea that we are inefficient with big cases? Consider the fact that last year the amount of secured assets was nearly 8 billion CZK.

Compared to the independence of public prosecutors, is the police force independent enough?

This is a very hot topic. Currently, we are preparing the amendment of the Law on the Prosecutor´s Office. We have plenty of comments on that, and discuss them with the proposers of this law as well as public prosecutors. Of course, there is information that a so-called territorial law exists, and that some decisions in criminal proceedings vary within the Czech Republic. However, that does not mean the Czech police force cannot execute its powers according to the law.

What specifically makes the police of today different from the police when you first started working there?

I started working with the police during the revolution. The police force then was very much influenced by the general public attitude to this institution. The force was uncompromisingly connected to the past regime, even though in many cases it was already showing and proving its modern way of thinking. Over the last 25 years, it has tried to win its positive place in society, and has gone through really hard times. The force was scandalized, often wrongfully. Today´s police force works with far less power than before, and it must handle the new, modern forms of crime. Modernization has really changed the game, especially in the way of investigation techniques, technical means, the method of police training, and so on.

Originally you come from Albrechtice near Bruntál, where you began as a police officer. What is the crime rate in Albrechtice, and do you personally know the local police officers there today?

The police force has gone through many changes, however in this town most police officers are those I still personally know. The crime rate is similar to other regions in the Czech Republic. When I worked as a head of the department, there were almost one hundred frontier officers working in the same territory. Today, the whole agenda must be handled by only the police officers at the department, which has reduced the rate of primary prevention, the impacts of which are visible in the high rate of petty crime.

You graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Ostrava, and the Faculty of Law in Brno. Would you choose different schools for your education now?

When I was studying it was really difficult to enroll at the resort police school, i.e. police academy. In the 90´s, when I studied at university, today’s study programs were not even available. I must say that the combination of law and philosophy, in a psychological sense, is optimal for a managerial position in the police force.

Do you have a role model?

Regarding police work, I greatly value the work that was done for the Czech police by General Jiří Kolář.

By: Editorial (jk)

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