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Government protection reform planned: Polish interior minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 12.02.2017 08:31
Poland's Government Protection Bureau will undergo changes, the Interior Ministry has said, while the country's PM is in hospital after a car crashed into a tree on Friday.
Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński.Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński.

According to Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, a new bill on the government body, which is responsible for the protection of top state officials and property, will be presented in coming weeks.

Deputy Interior Minister Jarosław Zieliński said that the changes, which would double the number of servicemen, aim to strengthen the agency and include “improved recognition of threats, better planning and more effective security”.

“We want to rebuild its tasks, the bureau's internal organisational structure, and also equip the Government Protection Bureau with new duties, including such which deal with gaining, analysing and using information, as other services do,” Zieliński said.

Zieliński added that the announced changes do not relate to the Friday crash of a government car, which was carrying Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

On Friday evening, a small model Fiat was being overtaken by a convoy of three government cars when it started to turn left, colliding with the middle car, which was carrying Szydło. The driver of the car swerved to avoid the collision and hit a tree by the roadside.

Szydło was taken to a hospital nearby to the scene of the crash in Oświęcim, in Poland's south, before being airlifted to the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, where she remains for observation.

Two others in the prime minister's car, both Government Protection Bureau personnel, were also injured in the crash. The driver was released from hospital on Saturday while the other person “sustained certain injuries” which required surgery.

The 21-year-old driver of the Fiat admitted to and has been charged with causing the accident and could face up to three years in jail. Police continue an investigation into the crash.

This is not the first car accident involving top government officials in recent months.

Recently a car carrying Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz was involved in an eight-car pile-up, while a car carrying President Andrzej Duda skidded into a roadside ditch early last year. The latter accident was blamed on a failed tire.

Interior Minister Błaszczak said that Government Protection Bureau cars are involved in more than 20 accidents a year. (vb)

Source: PAP

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