Slovakia has over 20,000 police officers, divided into two major corps: state (national) police and municipal police. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is by the colour of their uniforms.
State police wear olive-green uniforms, while municipal police dress in dark blue or black uniforms. An additional distinctive trait of all municipal police is the black and white chequered lining of their caps.
The state police corps is divided into the following major groups:
- Traffic police, who monitor compliance with traffic laws in towns and on highways.
- Border and Customs police, who monitor border crossings and administer the rules governing foreign residents of Slovakia.
- Criminal and Financial police, who handle violent crime and white collar crime.
- Public Order police, usually beat cops who walk the streets in pairs, handling minor street quarrels and giving assistance to passers-by (directions, answers to questions, etc.). Many of these police take English and German courses.
Municipal police in individual towns and cities have responsibilities similar to those of Public Order police, but they also oversee parking in towns. Municipal police cannot issue fines for exceeding the speed limit, although they can punish other traffic offences.
State police are led by the Slovak Police Corps President, who reports directly to the Interior Minister. State police include investigators at the district, regional, and national levels. The Chief Investigator of the Slovak Police Corps is also under the Interior Ministry. Municipal police, meanwhile, report to their individual city councils.
In an emergency, citizens can call a police dispatcher at telephone number 158. People who are asked for bribes by a police officer are asked to request the officer give his or her badge number (identifikačné číslo), which is worn on the left breast pocket. Complaints can be filed by calling 158 and asking for the senior inspection officer (inšpekčný dôstojník).
14. May 2001 at 0:00 | Martina Pisárová