Czech authorities to introduce security threat scale

Photo: European Commission

In view of the heightened threat of international terrorism, the Czech prime minister has asked the interior minister for the introduction of a security threat scale that in the event of danger would enable a fast and coordinated response by the country’s security forces and better communication with the public.

Photo: European Commission
Is the Czech Republic a potential target of terrorist attacks, do the security forces have sufficient powers to fight terrorism and how well are the country’s special units prepared to react to attacks such as those in Paris. Those are questions that the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka urgently wants answers to. He also wants a security threat scale and an effective way of communication with the public in the event of danger. Security specialist Andor Šandor says the latter is badly needed since Czechs are only used to routine siren tests, which are largely ignored by the public.

“Normally what we have now is that on the first Wednesday of the month there is a test of sirens. They start at midday and it takes about five minutes and I can tell you that the tourists are quite amazed, they do not know what it means, they do not know what to do. And as I said it is important for the public to know if a security threat is declared –that is an important part of the process that such an alert would launch.”

At present only the Czech military has a five point security threat scale that is used within NATO. The interior ministry has nothing similar and the prime minister wants to see one introduced – a scale such as those used in the UK or US –which would define the potential degree of threat as well as measures to be taken by the country’s security forces. Andor Šandor says such a scale would significantly help coordination and communication in the event of danger.

Andor Šandor, photo: Šárka Ševčíková
“The Americans have a two-point scale system, the British a five-point scale, I do not know what is going to be chosen in our country, but as I said it is important to understand what each point on the scale means and what the security systems are supposed to do. People should be aware of the threat, people should know what to do and the military, police and intelligence organizations should know what to do when such an alert is declared.”

The security threat scale should be agreed on by the end of the year in view of being introduced in early 2016. The public is likely to welcome the initiative. According to a poll conducted by the Median agency two thirds of Czechs say they agree with their leaders that the country is at war against terror.