Internal Security Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: 2010 Pages: 53-63
This article examines the development of police antiterrorist units in Poland.
The article features the Polish police antiterrorist unit. It tells the story of the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics on 5 Sept. 1972, which is regarded as the beginning of counter-terrorist squads' history. The article also gives the historical background to creating such units in Poland and discusses the first Polish antiterrorist unit established in 1976. Readers' attention is drawn to the social and political transformations initiated in Poland and introduced in the Eastern Bloc countries in the early 1990s, which resulted in totalitarian regime being replaced by democracy. The developments at the beginning of the 21st c. - the WTC terrorist attack in New York and the Pentagon attack in Washington - drastically changed the approach to fighting terrorism worldwide and started the analysis of the existing solutions. Following the analysis a decision was taken in Poland to reorganize in 2003 the Warsaw antiterrorist unit into two departments of the Central Bureau of Investigation at the National Police HQ as a functional equivalent of the Central Antiterrorist Unit. At the end of 2006 next steps were taken to rationalize the existing system and to create a strong and efficient antiterrorist unit capable of tackling the challenges and threats from contemporary terrorism. For over 2 years new solutions were sought for to establish a central antiterrorist unit, and the only reasonable solution turned out to be the Bureau of Antiterrorist Operations at the National Police HQ formed in 2008 as a central counter-terrorist unit. (Published Abstract)