On the 1st of February 2018 Sluzba Ochrony Panstwa (SOP – State Protection Service) started their operation. New formation is replacing the Biuro Ochrony Rzadu in personal protection of government VIPs and facilities. SOP will have more operatives and their powers will be wider than it`s predecessor. New service budget for 2018 will be over 237 million PLN (57 million Euros).
In the light of new rules and regulations, SOP will be able to conduct reconnaissance and operational activities. Additionally, SOP will benefit from the support of other forces such as Police, Border Guard or Military Police.
Wider range of government facilities will be protected by the new service. According to the act regulating the activities of the SOP, not only strictly state-owned facilities will benefit from their protection. Minister will be able to appoint SOP to guard other facilities, which until now were quite often under watch of private security companies.
The act also specified which foreign guests are eligible for SOP protection. This includes heads of states, heads of governments, their deputies, chairman of parliaments and foreign affairs minister. This list can be broadened as required in special situations.
All staff serving the old Biuro Ochrony Rzadu became SOP officers. New formation will be lead by a commander who is a government administration entity. This was done to accelerate and upgrade the decision-making process.
Additionally, the relevant ministry considers more recruitment. SOP has a target of 3000 officers. This is in line with the current policy to increase the number of people serving in uniformed services. There were 134 new officers accepted into BOR in 2016, 155 in 2017 while in January 2018 alone, 36 recruits started their service.
Recruitment requirements were also changed. Candidates and officers will have to undertake the lie-detector test, just as it happens in Border Guard and other uniformed services.