About 300 Czech police, soldiers, customs officers, and firefighters are training in preparation for the reintroduction of border checks between Czechia and Slovakia in case of a migrant crisis.
The border control training features Czech security forces patrolling the almost 50 kilometers-long border with Slovakia in the North Moravian region, including five border crossings. Furthermore, a practice registration center for migrants was created.
"Illegal migration has been stagnating so far, and the number of detained migrants is at a pre-migrant crisis level," said Interior Minister Jan Hamáček. Despite the lull in migration, the Czech Republic has to be prepared in case the situation changes, says Hamáček.
"Of course, this training has a purpose," Hamáček said, adding that the armed forces will simulate real conditions that would arise if controls were needed. The exercise is not the first of its kind as a similar one took place last year.
According to Deputy Police President Martin Vondrášek, the Czech Republic is ready in case the government decides to reintroduce border controls. At the request of police forces, the government released CZK 350 million (about €14 million) for 2019 to 2021 to buy necessary equipment.
The training in the eastern part of Czechia is attended by 150 police officers, 60 soldiers, 30 firefighters, 30 customs officers, and 10 prison service officers.
Police forces plan to practice the registration of immigrants at the registration center, subjecting each migrant to a multi-level sorting process. Doctors, nurses, and paramedics will then carry out a simplified medical check to detect any potential infectious disease or injury.
Last year, police forces detected 4,992 immigrants who were staying illegally in the Czech Republic, representing 254 more than in 2017. The continued presence of illegal immigrants has forced police to expend resources on tracking and apprehending them, shifting them away from their traditional focus on crime and ensuring public safety for citizens.