Studio ČT24: Briefing after the meeting of the State Security Council (source: ČT24)
The Ministry of the Interior presented to the State Security Council (BRS) 33 measures in connection with the shooting at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University (FF UK). They concern the police, firefighters, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, said Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS). The Department of Education has prepared twenty million crowns for the faculty where a gunman killed fourteen people and injured another 25 in December. President Petr Pavel also took part in the meeting.
In mid-January, the government authorized the Minister of the Interior, Víto Rakušan (STAN), to present measures for similar crisis situations. Now the Austrian has been given the task by BRS to elaborate the proposed measures by June 26, added Fiala.
According to the prime minister, they include improving the analytical tools of the police, checking current procedures and training. They also concern awareness and education in the area of soft targets, and the firefighters are to prepare a new way of quickly informing the population. The interior will prepare trainings and seminars and, together with the Ministry of Health, will ensure consistent digitization of systems in connection with the new weapons legislation. The Ministry of Education will develop security standards for universities, provide training and continue to provide psychological assistance at universities, added Fiala. The Austrian went on to say, for example, that the number of first-line police patrols is to increase from the current 210 to 241. Proportionately, additional equipment must be taken into account, he added.
The Ministry of the Interior stated in a press release that these are measures that do not require fundamental conceptual changes. A significant part can be done this year or next year. For the police, they also include, for example, the retrofitting of selected units with weapons and ballistic protection, and the interior also wants to ensure more consistent and effective psychological examinations of gun license holders. A communication campaign with the topic of mental health is also expected.
The Austrian also said that the internal security budget increase must come from the government. The sum of three billion crowns, which he spoke about on Monday, is said to be preliminary. He will announce the final amount only after further negotiations. “We will look for options only at the ministerial meeting, where Finance Minister (Zbyněk) Stanjura will be present,” he stated. Fiala reminded that the government decided on four billion crowns for regional education and universities on Wednesday. “We will have to consider what is needed as a result of current events, where to add, where to take away,” he stated. The Cabinet received a framework for what it would use the extra funds for.
The Ministry of Education will give universities extra money to implement security measures. He will add 200 million crowns from European money. Additional funds will be released from the ministry’s development programs.
Events: How to protect soft targets (source: ČT24)
Attendance of the President
President Petr Pavel also participated in the BRS meeting. “Certainly he’s going to comment on how he views those things at his own discretion,” Fiala said. He appreciated that Pavel accepted the invitation and used his right to be present at the meetings of the cabinet and the security council. “It expresses the president’s interest in key strategic decisions and security, it was an important signal to the public that the main constitutional officials are communicating with each other and have a common interest in the good future of the Czech Republic,” he added.
According to the Austrian, Pavel thanked the rescuers and the police. He took note of the presented materials and considers it important that the government strives to increase citizens’ sense of security.
During the shooting in the faculty building in the center of Prague on December 21, fourteen people, including students and teachers, lost their lives, and 25 people were injured. After the attack, the perpetrator, who according to the police was a student of the faculty, committed suicide. The tragedy has fueled debate about the need to increase the protection of soft targets.
The police’s internal audit previously found that the police acted correctly during the intervention and during the previous search for the suspect, but crisis communication with school representatives should have been better. During the search for the student due to his possible suicidal intentions, they did not inform the faculty management, but only the school staff present.