Police reject new “1950s sounding” anthem

Photo: Kristýna Maková

The Czech police are to get a new anthem which would symbolize the successful transformation of the force over that last 25 years. But the demo version of the anthem, leaked to the media, has provoked many critical reactions, prompting the police president to put the project on hold.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
“Dreaming is Not Enough in Life” is the name of a new police anthem that was to be officially unveiled next year. Composed by a conductor of the Prague Castle Guard and Police Orchestra, the song appeals on police officers to “always want good, and to overcome evil like a man”, and urges that “a greater effort you need to make in order to protect and help”.

The police presidium says this is a draft version of the anthem that has only been performed twice in public. But the song has come under fire from many in the police corps and beyond. Some argue it is too pompous for a police anthem; others believe it sounds too much like a communist propaganda march from the 1950s.

Since a recording of the new anthem appeared on the internet last week, hundreds of plice officers have voiced complaints that the song would make them a laughingstock. The largely negative reactions have prompted Police President Tomáš Tuhý to ask for the anthem to be reworked, a move welcomed by the interior minister among others.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
The anthem is one of the innovations to be introduced in the Czech police next year. These include new cars and some other equipment as well as new uniforms. According to the police president, the new symbols should correspond with the spirit of a modern police force.

Indeed, the Czech police have undergone a major transformation since the fall of communism 25 years ago, and retain relatively high levels of public trust. That is quite unusual in the post-communist countries of central and eastern Europe, says sociologist Klára Plecitá from the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“I would say that people are proud to have a police force like ours. When we look at people’s attitudes towards the Czech police, we can say that Czech police are able to apprehend and deter offenders, that they work relatively well, and that people are relatively satisfied with the contacts they have with the police.”

Is that something unusual in the post-communist countries in the region?

Klára Plecitá,  photo: archive of Czech Academy of Sciences
“I think it is because in comparison with other countries in central and eastern Europe, the Czech police are doing relatively well. It is very well evaluated like for instance the police in Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Spain.”

Are there any areas where the public perceives the police worse than in other countries?

“Yes but it’s difficult to explain. We found that people don’t believe that the police share the same values as the majority of the society. It’s difficult to interpret what people mean but for them, the police are still a little obscure like they were in the communist times.

“They are not sure whether the change that has occurred is only external or whether it has also taken place on the inside.”