Joanna Komolka: Insp. Mariusz Ciarka, spokesperson of the Police Headquarters. Let's start with the March of tomorrow and the security issue. Would you take your children as a parent for such a march?
Mariusz Ciarka: As the police, we do everything to ensure that safety is raised to the highest possible level. I think that a year ago and two years ago, although some judge it differently, it was safe, because how to compare such a situation, when someone carries a banner or someone does not like someone, because someone screams, with situations from a few years ago, where it occurred to breaking the law when the windows were knocked out when the cars were set on fire when we were injured. And I will remind – a year ago, two years ago there were no such situations, we did not notice one person injured or one destroyed equipment.
Yes, but we are in a slightly different situation, we have a slightly inflamed atmosphere around this march.
Indeed, this is unnecessary to anyone. Always remember that November 11 is the most important holiday for every Pole, a celebration connected with regaining independence. And a few weeks before November 11 …
Will it be safe enough for families with children to come?
Of course, I can never afford to say that 100% will not happen to anyone. However, I can say that as a father of my sons I would take this march with them and I would like to celebrate this day as every Pole should, and I do not understand this warming up the atmosphere for several days, where I get questions not how it will look like this march how should we worship, only how many police forces we anticipate threats …
This is important enough, these are very important information for those who listen to us, who are wondering if they can go with their families. In the context of what happened in the police, do I think about these mass medical exemptions, I managed to sign an agreement, does that mean that the police have returned from sick leave?
The situation is still dynamic. I can assure you that this plan related to the preparation of security in Warsaw was well prepared, it is being worked out all the time, because in fact we are working on such plans up to the last minute, taking into account all possible variants, because we must take into account such a threat as natural, weather breakdown, threat caused by people related to disasters, road accidents, but also one of the variants of collective disruption of the order, we must also take such variants into account.
How many policemen will protect the march?
We do not disclose such data, not because it is a special year, but never. Every year, we never disclose the number of police officers used for security.
And this is a large number? What's the order more or less?
Please forgive me, but this is about the safety of these policemen, inter alia, that their lives would not be threatened, so we do not disclose such data before securing, after securing it may be possible to reveal such data, but here it is a tactic of adopted actions, about how these policemen will work and their safety, so that possible environments that would be aimed at heating the atmosphere did not know which groups of policemen they are dealing with.
So I understand that apart from these policemen, uniformed policemen will also be in uniforms?
I do not like such questions, because this is the issue of this police kitchen, but yes, it is known to everyone, it is enough to watch movies and it is known that in addition to those uniformed policemen, those whom we see with such protections, there are also policemen, who are civil servants who collect information and analyze this information on a regular basis, what is happening also in the crowd.
Will the policemen from outside Warsaw also come?
Just like every year, because every year, apart from policemen from the Warsaw Metropolitan Police Department, we are supported by city guards, military police. This year it will not be different, we will also be supported by other services, and also colleagues will come …
If we recognize that the military police is an army – yes, but if we talk about this regular army … Because the gendarmerie will immediately make me realize that it is a military police. They supported us at the NATO summit, at the World Youth Day, during the visit of President Trump, the action "Znicz", while as for the army as an army, associated with training grounds – no, here the need to watch order, there is not. Besides, I will say straight away that this is a very complicated procedure, the use of the army, here the president himself must agree.
In the case of violations of the law, if there were some excesses, if there were a banner, eg with some racist slogans, such as appeared last year, will the state as the police react in this situation? On the part of the government and ministers, we have the assurance that the police will immediately pull such people out of the crowd. Is it really so? That is the command, recommendation?
As for all kinds of experts, I would actually call "pseudo-experts" …
No, I'm talking about government ministers.
… or politicians, the best they can do is to refrain from saying what technique we will adopt, because it is really up to the end – and this follows from the law on the police – it has to be kept secret. However, we are obliged to respond to law violations, react adequately and above all and this is a task not only of the Polish police, but the same tactic in this area is valid all over the world, preventing bloodshed, and therefore injured or killed people this is a priority for us, and we will do our work in such a way that there will be no collective disruption, so that property will not be destroyed, so that it will not be beaten.
But if there were slogans in this march, not what should appear, or flags, or any banners not as they should be, will the state react at a given moment?
Of course, we always react in the right way, documenting above all such cases, determining the identity of these people, to later submit this process material to the prosecutor's office, to the court. But you have to cool down some enthusiasm right away, here things are really very complicated. We collect this material, the court considers these matters for a year, two and very often it ends with acquittal, because it turns out that …
And, for example, in the context of last year's march, when these flags appeared, when these inscriptions appeared …?
All this evidence, a lot of recordings, these are hourly recordings, because although the march lasts for some time, let us remember that we have several cameras plus city monitoring, so the total of these recordings is much more than just the march itself, right away I will explain that people are not surprised that these recordings are much longer, we have forwarded to the prosecutor's office, the prosecutor's office is investigating here, the prosecutor's office is investigating, we do not speak as police in this matter.
Here, the prosecutor's office is investigating, we are ready to do and support the prosecutor's office if necessary, while prosecutors have appointed experts and here questions to the prosecutor's office must be asked, also how the judges judged, because these matters are so complicated, crosses of all kinds that are used, symbols that would seem to break the law, then suddenly the expert states that it is not acceptable.
You are talking about one issue, but we are also talking about trying to establish the image or identity of those who shouted slogans such as last year they were shouting. These people are fixed?
I do not want to reveal the secret of the investigation, because it is a prosecutor's investigation and only the prosecutor's office can speak, but in one sentence I will say it shortly – if necessary, and the prosecutor's office will recommend us, we will stop them.
I would like to ask in the context of tomorrow's march, do you also cooperate in this case with foreign services? I am asking because we have warnings from the American embassy, we have warnings from Canada and these are the warnings that citizens of these countries are saying: beware in Warsaw on November 11th.
The Polish police is a very valued member of international police structures, for example Interpol, also Europol, we are very valued and distinguished there. Anyway, next year we will be hosting the Interpol conference, which will be held in Poland for the first time.
And of course, this information exchange is all the time, 24 hours. In this case, if necessary, we also keep in touch, but with these countries, as you mentioned, the US or Canada, there was no such necessity, just from here there are some large groups that would like to participate in marches, celebrations, there are not, there are no such signals.
Where are they from?
Mostly, we mainly mean neighbors here. Cooperation also with the border guard, in order to early possible groups that could appear, aimed at provoking certain inappropriate behaviors, respond quickly, but these countries did not signal to us any threats related to the November 11 holiday in Poland.
Do you have information on how many neo-fascists from Europe are going or going to Warsaw? Because even today, on Saturday, they organize some concerts, for which they invite, for example, on social profiles.
Here, forgive me, this is the police kitchen.
But I understand that the state knows about it?
Even if I wanted to answer that question and to answer it, later my colleagues, especially from the criminal department, this operational, would lynch me just.
But you can say, "Yes, we know how many of them are there, we have their eyes on them"?
I can say that we are monitoring the situation all the time, we collect information, also this operational information, so those with a secret clause, are collected. And just the information you ask for is the police kitchen, this is the most advanced tactics of police action related to the fact that you can not talk too much about it. Because the listeners are different people, not only do you listen to us faithful listeners of Radio ZET, but they can also listen to those who collect information about how the police will work.
Why did the commander of the Warsaw police write to the mayor of Warsaw to mount such special barriers because of the terrorist threat along the march? This is a normal practice?
Yes, this is exactly the same as a year ago. A year ago, it was also requested to put up such barriers. I remember that a year ago there was even a small scandal that the city refused to lay out these dams, so that it is nothing new, a year ago, two years ago it was similar … Unless the city is not able to put up those barriers, we had to to ask the voevoda, the voivode finally appointed a service that brought those dams, so that this is nothing new. Nowadays, looking at what is happening in Western Europe, all over the world, how the attackers work, we must also take into consideration such threats.
This is what I said at the very beginning: we take into account all possible variants, starting from natural causes related to the breakdown of the weather, and ending with collective disturbance of order or the possibility of terrorist actions, unfortunately in such a time we live to ensure maximum security for all our citizens, all participants of this march and we take into account such situations too, but it is nothing, believe me, new, it is not related to some extra information that a terrorist attack is supposed to take place, it is simply an action preventive to be prepared for every circumstance.
And how does the police assess the risk of this march? Is the president of Warsaw, as Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz judged it, the nationalists' march that banned his organization?
Here I have the impression that the police are being maneuvered back into some political conflicts.
But I think that the state also spoke in some way about the risk, the threat?
We were not asked for it, which is why this decision of President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz was a surprise for us, because of course there were meetings earlier, but it was working meetings between representatives of the police and town hall, which take place not only before the celebrations of November 11, but before each major event to determine the details. But before making a decision, it is not a secret, the president herself admitted, she did not ask us for any opinion, she said she based her opinion only on media reports.
From the point of view of the police, are there any grounds for forbidding such a march? There were many arguments. First of all, this case, which has been averted, i.e. the release of the police, secondly what we talked about, i.e. the potential risk, the threat associated with the various groups that may arise in general?
Only such hypothetical threats accompany every event. It can even be a small festival in a small town and imagine that the commune head or mayor of the town says: "There is a terrorist threat, we live in such times, we refuse to organize some local event." New Year's Eve, May 1, May 3 … I would find some of these events.
On the other hand, on 11 November, for some time, it is politicized terribly, and I can see it through the questions that are directed to the police, so I really avoid these statements, because what is for politicians, let us leave politicians, police let them work, do their job best they can, and Polish policemen can really do such security work, I will find many examples: EURO 2012, World Youth Day, climatic summit, NATO summit, Trump's visit – the same events were organized somewhere else in the world. There were brawls, serious events. In Poland it was very safe and many thanks went from all over the world to us.