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30th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Polish Border Guard

The Polish Border Guard is a uniformed and armed service established to protect the Polish border. It was first deployed on 16 May 1991. For 30 years this day has been celebrated as a holiday of all the officers and employees of the Polish Border Guard.

While performing its duties, the Polish Border Guard follows the glorious traditions of the border formations created after Poland had regained its independence in 1918. With particular respect it cultivates the traditions of the Border Protection Corps (1924-1939), a special military organisation created to provide protection against Soviet sabotage in the Eastern Borderlands, and the Border Guard (1928-1939), a semi-military formation operating on the western border, whose officers risked their lives combating smuggling during the Polish- German tariff war. On 1 September 1939, the soldiers of the Border Guard were the first to fight against the German invaders, while on 17 September the soldiers of the Border Protection Corps were the first line of Poland’s defence against the Soviet aggressor.

The contemporary Polish Border Guard is a centralized administrative body within the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. Its tasks include the protection of the state border both on land and at sea, organizing and conducting checks at border crossing points, preventing and counteracting illegal migration (e.g. by verifying compliance with the rules of entry and stay of foreigners), and detection and prosecution of perpetrators of crimes related to border crossing (e.g. those involving explosives, arms and ammunition, drugs and narcotics, and works of art). The Polish Border Guard ensures safety of international transport, cooperates with authorised bodies and services in the domain of terrorist threat detection and performs tasks arising from the regulations of the European Union law and international agreements.

The Polish Border Guard is the only armed service authorised to protect directly the 3,511 km long Polish border (including 440 km of sea border), of which as much as 1,581 km is the external border of the European Union. The officers also perform migration duties and combat organised smuggling across the entire territory of Poland.

Service in the Polish Border Guard is voluntary. It can be done by adults, exclusively of Polish citizenship, with good reputation, with no criminal record, enjoying full public rights, having physical and mental capacity to serve in the armed forces, subject to special discipline and also providing a guarantee of confidentiality. Each officer of the Polish Border Guard solemnly swears “to serve the Polish Nation faithfully, always taking into account the interest of the State of Poland” and “to guard with determination the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Poland and to secure the inviolability of the State border, even at the risk of life”.

As at 31 January 2022, 14,814 officers served in the Polish Border Guard, including 4,375 (29.5%) women. The vast majority of officers perform their duties in direct border protection or border traffic control.

Polish Border Guard Major, Artur Ochał, PhD