Poland amends laws on the protection of its state border

A general view of Polish senators meeting to discuss the changes to laws regulating the enforcement of security on Poland’s borders.

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On November 26, senators from the Sejm, Poland’s parliament  adopted amendments to the act on the protection of the state border.

Migration pressure is still visible on the Polish-Belarussian section of the state border. At the same time, incidents, also with the use of weapons, provoked by the Belarusian services are intensifying. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the Border Guard’s activities, Polish lawmakers believe it is necessary to add in the Act of October 12, 1990 on the protection of the state border the possibility by introducing, for a specified period, a ban on staying or loitering at the border.

The ban may be introduced in a specific area of ​​the border zone, on the basis of the regulation of the minister responsible for internal affairs (issued after consulting the chief commander of the Border Guard), in which the area and duration of the ban will be specified. The act provides for a number of exceptions to this prohibition for the aforementioned categories of people – mainly for residents of the area covered by the ban on stay, people working in this area for gainful employment, students, and people using border crossings. The locally competent commander of the Border Guard post will also be able to permit other persons, in particular journalists, to stay in the area prohibited by the prohibition.

The draft amendment provides for the possibility of introducing restrictions only in a specific area of ​​the border zone.”

In connection with the possibility of prohibiting staying in certain areas near the border provided for in the act, the act also proposes to enable entities performing specific activities in the area covered by the ban on stay to receive compensation for the period of its validity.

The amendment also introduces a change in the Act of October 12, 1990 on the Border Guard, consisting in the extension of the catalog of direct coercive measures that may be used by Border Guard officers to include knapsack-like disabling substance launchers.

The Act also provides for: the abolition of the age limit for candidates for service in the Border Guard, regulating the professional qualifications required to appoint Border Guard officers to an official position, and the abolition of the time limit for entrusting official duties in the case of an officer entrusted with official duties due to the need to replace another officer due to his or her absences from service.

The changes will enter into force on the day following the date of their announcement, with the exception of the provisions regulating the service of Border Guard officers, which will enter into force on January 1, 2022.

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