Border Guard (Poland)
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|Polish Border Guard
|Patch of the Polish Border Guard.|
|Flag of the Polish Border Guard.|
|Formed||12 October 1990|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Governing body||Ministry of the Interior (Poland)|
|Minister responsible||Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, Minister of the Interior|
|Agency executive||Maj. Gen. Dominik Tracz, Commander in Chief|
|Airplaness||PZL-104, PZL M-28|
|Helicopterss||PZL W-3 Sokół|
The Polish Border Guard (Polish Straż Graniczna, also abbreviated as SG) is a state security agency tasked with patrolling the Polish border. It existed in the Second Republic era from 1928 to 1939 and was reestablished in the modern-day Third Republic in 1990, going into operation the following year. During the communist era lasting from 1945 to 1989, the role of the border guard was carried out by the Border Guard Army (Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza).
The Straż Graniczna was founded in 1928. During the times of the Second Polish Republic, it was responsible for northern, western and southern border of Poland (with Germany, Free City of Gdańsk, sea border, Czechoslovakia and Romania). Eastern border, often raided by military bands supported by Soviet Union was under the jurisdiction of a separate, military formation (Border Defence Corps, Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza - KOP).
Responsibilities of Straż Graniczna included:
- prevention of illegal crossing of the land and sea border by people and goods (smuggling)
- ensuring safety and public order in the border area
- combat any threats to national security in the border area
Border Guard was organized in a military style, with uniformed and armed agents. It was controlled by the Ministry of Treasury, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Military Affairs. The highest level of organizational structure of the agency was Main Headquarters (Komenda Glowna), based in Warsaw. It was followed by Regional Inspectorates, Border Inspectorates, stations and posts. It carried out actions through patrols, manning border checkpoints, tracking, rouses and intelligence work. It had its own river and sea flotilla, intelligence academy, and the Main School of Border Guard (Centralna Szkola Strazy Granicznej), which was located firstly in Gora Kalwaria (until 1928), then in Rawa Ruska. The school had a department of training of guard dogs, also located in Rawa Ruska.
Each station of the agency was responsible for some 20 to 25 kilometers of the borderline. The stations oversaw posts of the first line and posts of the second line. In 1938, there were 129 stations of the Border Guard, 419 posts of the first line (these were located right along the border), and 212 posts of the second line (located in the interior of the country, right behind posts of the first line).
Regional inspectorates in 1939
- Mazovian Regional Inspectorate - Ciechanów,
- Pomeranian Regional Inspectorate - Bydgoszcz,
- Greater Poland Regional Inspectorate - Poznan,
- Silesian Regional Inspectorate - Katowice,
- Western Lesser Poland Regional Inspectorate - Krakow,
- Eastern Lesser Poland Regional Inspectorate - Lwow.
- Agency of the Customs Inspectorate of the Free City of Gdańsk.
In late 1938 and early 1939, following changes of borders of some Eastern European countries, the Border Guard took over protection of the boundary with Lithuania, while Border Defence Corps moved some of its units to the newly established border with Hungary. Furthermore, every station of the Border Guard was strengthened with a platoon of the Polish Army.
1945 - 1989
During the period of the People's Republic of Poland, the role of the border guards was carried out by the military formation of Border Defence Army (Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza), being a part of the Polish People's Army and reporting directly to the Ministry of Interior, formerly under the Ministry of National Defense (from 1945-1949 and again from 1965 to 1970 and 1972), just as its 2nd Republic predecessors were assigned.
1990 - present
Straż Graniczna has been reestablished in the Third Polish Republic as a civil, police-type service, with the act of 12 October 1990 and began operations on 16 May 1991. It considers itself the successor to the Second Polish Republic formations of the Straż Graniczna and Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza (plus the military heritage of the Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza of the People's Republic), and thus is one of the only police styled forces to use military style ranks (the Government Protection Bureau, Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego and the Służba Więzienna also use them as well).
From 1 May 2004, the day Poland became a member of the European Union, Straż Graniczna performs its responsibility to guard and protect both the Polish and EU borders.
Notable Border Guard commanders
- Walerian Czuma (1939 March–September)
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