Veřejná bezpečnost

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Veřejná bezpečnost vehicle

Public Security (Czech: Veřejná bezpečnost (VB), Slovak: Verejná bezpečnosť (VB)) was the regular police force of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (ČSSR), created in 1945 as a department of the National Security Corps (Sbor národní bezpečnosti), which also included State Security (Státní bezpečnost), Armed Airport Security (Czech: Sbor ozbrojené ochrany letišť, SOOL)) and Armed Railway Security, (Czech: (Sbor ozbrojené ochrany železnic, SOOŽ)).

The VB was divided into the Public Order and Traffic VB (Highway Patrol), Criminal Investigations VB (major crimes, forensics), and an Infrastructure Security section (security of important buildings, installations, etc.). There were regional, district, city and local detachments of the force. On the 15th of June 1991, it ceased to exist and its functions transferred to the new police forces of the Czech and Slovak republics.

The VB were permitted to demand from any citizen an občanský průkaz (identification booklet). This booklet contained a photograph and information such as name, current address and place of employment (being unemployed in the ČSSR was practically illegal, as one could be charged with "living on avails of the society"). As carrying an občanský průkaz was mandatory; a person could be detained for simply not having one in their possession.

Veřejná bezpečnost officers, 1985

The auxiliary wing was the 'Public Security Auxiliary Guard' (Pomocná stráž VB), recruited from "politically reliable" citizens over the age of 21, who wore a red arm-band with "PS VB". They were generally used for traffic control and public order duties.

VB vehicles were originally blue with a white line along the side. Later vehicles had panels painted orange and white in a similar pattern to American 'black and whites', which the pattern's designer admitted after the fall of the regime was his inspiration. The full name 'Veřejná bezpečnost' was used with the blue design while later vehicles had only the letters 'VB' written the white doors.

VB uniforms were also originally dark blue until the 1960s, when they changed to a khaki colour described officially as 'nettle green', with rank insignia on red epaulettes, which did not follow Soviet patterns, except for junior officers.

Rank Structure[edit]

Rank in Czech English Translation Insignia
Praporčické Warrant Officers/NCO's
Rotný Junior Sergeant one silver star
Strážmistr Sergeant two silver stars
Nadstrážmistr Staff Sergeant three silver stars
Podpraporčík Junior Warrant Officer one silver star with silver edging to epaulette
Praporčík Warrant Officer two silver stars with silver edging
Nadpraporčík Senior Warrant Officer three silver stars with silver edging
Důstojnické hodnosti Officers
Podporučík Junior Lieutenant one gold star
Poručík Lieutenant two gold stars
Nadporučík Senior Lieutenant three gold stars, arranged in triangle
Kapitán Captain three gold stars arranged in a triangle, with a fourth above them
Major Major one gold star with gold edging to epaulette
Podplukovník Lieutenant Colonel two gold stars with gold edging
Plukovník Colonel three gold stars, arranged in triangle, with gold edging
Generálové General Officers
Generálmajor Major General one large gold star with crossed staffs and gold braid edging
Generálporučík Lieutenant General two large gold stars with crossed staffs and gold braid edging
Generálplukovník Colonel General three large gold stars with crossed staffs and gold braid edging

The work of the VB was portrayed in the very popular 1970's Czechoslovak police procedural Thirty Cases of Major Zeman (Třicet případů majora Zemana), which consisted of thirty hour-long programmes each documenting a year between 1945 and 1975, mostly inspired by real cases but still heavily skewed to Communist ideology.

See also[edit]