In November, the Chief Commander of the Police, General Jarosław Szymczyk, will retire, and his duties will be taken over by one of his deputies as acting officer – the tvn24.pl portal learned. This is the main message of the meeting with provincial commanders, which took place today at the headquarters. The commanders were told that they had the freedom to make a decision: they left now or stayed while waiting for the new Minister of Internal Affairs and the Chief Commander. – Some are preparing for retirement, others for promotions – comments an experienced officer in an interview with tvn24.pl.
On Tuesday, a meeting of the top management of the Police Headquarters with invited provincial commanders from all over the country was held at the headquarters, followed by a meeting of the directors of the police headquarters.
According to our interlocutors, during the first one, Chief Commander Jarosław Szymczyk announced that in November he would resign and move to retirement, regardless of when a new ruling majority is established. – This will definitely be after two big events that await us in November: the monthly anniversary and, above all, the Independence March – we heard at the police headquarters.
Offer for commanders
Provincial commanders were told that they had the freedom to make a decision: they left now or stayed while waiting for the new Minister of Internal Affairs and the Chief Commander of Police. This is important, if only for material reasons.
– When they leave with Szymczyk, they can count on an increase in the allowance, which means a higher pension. The new personnel distribution may not be as generous or they may be kept in service to conduct disciplinary proceedings – explain the interlocutors from the headquarters. The point is that police positions are assigned a service allowance. Although it may amount to, for example, 30 percent of their salary, they receive 15 percent throughout their years of service and only when they retire is it increased.
After the commanders’ meeting, an official dinner and an informal meeting took place. Now the commanders will return to their units and will soon inform their subordinate officers of their decisions: whether they will retire or stay.
And they – just like the chief commander – have in their hands the ability to give city and district commanders subordinates allowances. The result may be a mass exodus of management staff in the entire Polish police.
– Some are preparing for retirement, others for promotions – comments an experienced officer who has already experienced several such “breakthrough moments”.
The longest-serving commander
General Jarosław Szymczyk served as the police chief for the longest time in history. He took over in 2016, becoming the only general to serve during the PO-PSL coalition. His predecessor, Zbigniew Maj, was appointed to the role of commander-in-chief by the Minister of Internal Affairs Mariusz Błaszczak, lasted only three months. In this short time, however, he managed to force all provincial commanders serving during the PO-PSL coalition to leave the service.
May completed his mission in dramatic circumstances, when the then coordinating minister was in the Sejm Mariusz Kamiński accused him of committing serious crimes. After seven years of investigations, the prosecutor’s office discontinued the investigation against Maj.
Clashes with Zieliński
As the commander-in-chief, Szymczyk from the beginning clashed with the deputy minister of internal affairs, Jarosław Zieliński, who wanted to build a system that would allow him to decide on nominations for the positions of district commanders or even chiefs in the most remote units.
Szymczyk cooperated with four successive ministers of interior affairs: Mariusz Błaszczak, Joachim Brudziński, Elżbieta Witek and Mariusz Kamiński. Only the latter removed deputy minister Jarosław Zieliński and took over supervision of the police himself.
Commander with a grenade launcher
Szymczyk is concerned about the police officers’ behavior towards the participants of the National Women’s Strike, especially their participation in the suppression of these demonstrations by elite anti-terrorist units. Despite this, he maintained authority in the police ranks for years, until he accidentally set off a grenade launcher in his office.
– He returned from a business trip to… the previous evening Ukraine. The driver brought two grenade launchers to the secretariat, which Szymczyk received as a gift from his Ukrainian colleagues. When he showed up at work in the morning, he himself moved them from the secretary’s office to the office, where the gunshot occurred – an officer of the police headquarters tells tvn24.pl.
From that moment on, Szymczyk lost his authority for many policemen. For ordinary officers, the impunity of this event was incomprehensible: for example, they face prosecution for firing an accidental shot at a shooting range and have to pay for the damage incurred. However, a good relationship with Minister Mariusz Kamiński decided that Szymczyk remained in his position.
– It is also Szymczyk’s sense of duty. He knew how much he had lost in the eyes of the officers subordinated to him, and he didn’t have to cling to his chair because he already had everything he could get, say his close associates.
Empty police stations and police stations
The new Minister of Interior and Administration, as well as the Chief Commander, will have to face a gigantic problem that Minister Mariusz Kamiński failed to cope with. It’s about the lack of policemen, which can reach 30 percent in Warsaw police stations. The situation is not much better throughout the country, especially in large cities and western voivodeships.
– If this year’s wave of police departures is repeated at the beginning of next year, there will be units with 50% vacancies in Warsaw. This is a real threat to state security and the sense of security of every Pole, says an officer of the capital’s headquarters.
But stopping the possible exodus will not fully solve the problem, because at its core there is a lack of people willing to serve – there is no one to replace those who leave. Young people do not choose this path of development. Perhaps the reason is the image of the police, which has become very close to politics and the ruling party in recent years. This is a chance for the duo of the new Minister of Interior and Administration, as well as the Chief Commander of the Police.
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