Border Guard (Poland)

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Polish Border Guard
Straż Graniczna
Logo Straży Granicznej POL.svg
Patch of the Polish Border Guard.
POL Border Guard flag.svg
Flag of the Polish Border Guard.
Agency overview
Formed 12 October 1990
Preceding agencies
  • Border Defence Army (1945-89)
  • Straż Graniczna (1928-39)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Poland
Governing body Ministry of the Interior (Poland)
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
  • Customs.
  • Coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue.
Operational structure
Minister responsible Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, Minister of the Interior
Agency executive Brig. Gen. Dominik Tracz, Commander in Chief
Facilities
Airplaness PZL-104, PZL M-28
Helicopterss PZL W-3 Sokół
Website
http://www.strazgraniczna.pl/

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).

1928-1939[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Members of Straż Graniczna, under General Walerian Czuma, participated in the Second World War, fighting in the Polish Army during the Invasion of Poland.

1945 - 1989[edit]

During the times of the People's Republic of Poland, the role of the border guards was carried out by the military formation of Border Defence Troops (Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza), being a part of the army.

1990 - present[edit]

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 Straż Graniczna and Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza (plus the military heritage of the Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza of the People's Republic), and thus is the only police styled force to use military style ranks.

From 1 May 2004, the day Poland became a member of the European Union, Straż Graniczna is guarding both the Polish and EU borders.

Border Guard commanders[edit]

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]