Gen. Jiří Roček: My main priority has always been clear - people and personnel resources

 08. 01. 2024      category: CZ DIALOGUES
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The situation in the Military Police (MP) has calmed down and interpersonal relations have been straightened out. This is how Brigadier General Jiří Roček, who was appointed to his post on 1 March this year, assesses the climate within the MP. As the first man of the MP, General Roček has set clear goals, namely to continue the set trend with an emphasis on supporting the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic both at home and in foreign operations. Furthermore, his priority is to continue the renewal of equipment, weapons and material. However, the main priority is to intensify training and recruitment of new personnel. We talked about the current situation, purchases, foreign missions of Military Police officers and other important issues with General Jiří Roček in our discussion programme CZ DIALOGUES.

Video: Interview with the Chief of the Military Police Brigadier General Jiří Roček  / CZ DEFENCE

Military Police Chief Jiří Roček said calming the situation in the Military Police in particular has been difficult, mainly because of a series of negative articles criticizing its work. "In three quarters of a year I have made an analysis, I have gone through the whole issue and I think there are a lot of skilful people here, behind whom I stand and will stand. Of course, there are many other things we need to work on. We are trying to do that within the framework of the review of the Military Police Construction Concept," says General Roček, who has built on General Murcek's work in the new MP agenda, especially in the area of equipment and material renewal. An important task is the aforementioned revision of the Military Police Construction Concept, which follows the Construction Concept of the Army of the Czech Republic until 2035. "When we look at the change in the security environment, for example the conflict in Ukraine and Israel - we also have to react," says the Military Police Chief.

This year, the government also adopted two key documents, namely the defence and security strategy of the Czech Republic, which, among other things, contain many tasks that must be incorporated into the further construction of the SAF. "The biggest increase that we have seen since last year concerns the activity around the movement of foreign armies through the territory of the Czech Republic, which is probably also perceived by the civilian population. This is due to the creation of a multinational brigade in Slovakia," explains General Roček, who adds: "We expect that we will have to ensure not only the movements across the territory of the Czech Republic, but it will also be up to us, in cooperation with the army, to secure various places - for example, for rest."

Among the tasks resulting from the foreign cooperation is also the deployment of Military Police officers in Kosovo within the framework of Operation Joint Enterprise, where Czech members of the MP monitor the situation and, for example, provide crowd control capabilities, as well as capabilities in the area of traffic and order services.  According to Gen. Roček, our Military Police officers are doing an excellent job, they have managed to adapt to the local environment and in cooperation with the Italian Carabinieri they are fulfilling the assigned tasks. "The unit is in place with a strength of up to thirty people, with one part performing tasks for the benefit of the Italian Carabinieri and two members performing tasks for the benefit of the international Military Police unit. It is a traffic and order area and one member with two dogs is in charge of special activities focused on drugs and explosives. We have also received very good feedback from the foreign media about the activities of both Military Police units," said General.

A foreign mission is always the highlight of a soldier's and military policeman's work. There are currently six dozen Military Police officers outside the Czech Republic, with different assignments. "It is to support the Czech army within the framework of the group - whether it is Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and the mentioned Kosovo. And part of it is related to Ukraine, specifically to work within the framework of the ICC (International Criminal Court, editor's note) and the protection of the ambassador." We were interested in what specifically is the subject of the work of the HR officers in Ukraine. "Since this information is classified, it is difficult to discuss it. However, it is still in the spirit of the mandate we have. That is, our people are here in support of the war crimes investigation," says General Roček.

Foto: V tomto díle našeho diskusního pořadu CZ DIALOGY jsme si popovídali s náčelníkem Vojenské policie brigádním generálem Jiřím Ročkem | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: In this episode of our discussion show CZ DIALOGY we talked with the Chief of the Military Police Brigadier General Jiří Roček | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

The training of our soldiers in the framework of various international exercises or their participation in multinational groups is well known. We asked whether exercises at international level also take place with Military Police officers. "The Czech Military Police is in the project of the Multinational Battalion of the Military Police. Recently, the SHARP LYNX 2023 exercise was held in Libava with the participation of Poland, Croatia and Slovakia, with Georgia as a partner and Hungary also being part of the exercise." The Czech Military Police, which was the chairing country of the project, managed to organise the exercise, which was attended by over 300 officers from six countries. "I think that the results of the exercise showed that we are capable of working in an international environment. This particular exercise showed us that we were also highly appreciated by our foreign partners," says General Roček.

In the interview, the Chief of the Military Police also recalled the legislative amendments that the Military Police needs to do its job. "A small amendment, which has already been approved, addresses a shortcoming in the Military Police Act, which is the effect on the armed forces of another state when passing through or staying on the territory of the Czech Republic. We already have that. As for the so-called big amendment, it is now in the process of commenting," Gen. Roček and adds that the comments will mostly concern the refinement of responses in the context of the current security situation. "The most important one is the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles, and of course it is also about the response to them. This means destruction, takeover and so on. This is the basic thing that we are missing in the law," reveals the Chief of the Military Police.

However, the competence of Military Police officers will not change fundamentally. In order to achieve the new capabilities and activities of the MP, it is necessary to revise the aforementioned Concept for the Construction of the Military Police. As part of this revision, the representatives of the MP envisage the development of two emergency departments. "One is in Stará Boleslav, the other is stationed in Prostějov. We are counting on a large development of these two emergency departments, which will serve to support the Army of the Czech Republic, but of course also to support the allocated units for the benefit of the Alliance. This involves, of course, not only the expansion of immovable infrastructure, but also the purchase of equipment, material and so on. This means that, as the Army increases the number of soldiers to 30 000, the Military Police is also counting on an increase in the number of professional soldiers, including those in the active reserve. Within the Military Police, we are using all possible means of recruitment, both social networks and the newly introduced virtual recruitment centre. It also includes information about the Military Police and links to all our activities," explains General Roček.

Not only the question of new skills and activities is important for the Military Police, but also the question of new technologies. "Technology, newly developed systems, technical means and technical support - we need all this for our activities," says the Military Police Chief, who believes that the key parameter for the successful functioning of the Military Police is mainly a personnel issue. "This is the biggest challenge and priority. The key is the staffing of the Military Police and even though we are at a notional ninety percent staffing level, people are leaving, our population is ageing and we need to continuously renew and replenish our staff. My main priority has always been clear - people and personnel resources, because we cannot do without them," says the Chief of the Military Police, Brigadier General Jiří Roček. To learn more, listen to the full interview at the beginning of this article.

Foto: „Moje hlavní priorita vždycky byla jasná – lidé a personální zdroje, protože bez nich se neobejdeme,“ říká náčelník VP brig. gen. Jiří Roček | VP
Picture: "My main priority has always been clear - people and personnel resources, because we can't do without them," says MP Chief Brig. Gen. Jiří Roček | MP
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