Community watch officers are the government’s strategic partners. They are taking part in border protection, and with this they significantly contribute to good public security in Hungary, the Prime Minister’s appointee for priority social affairs stated at a press conference.

Zsolt Nyitrai said partnership manifests itself in professional cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, police officers and law enforcement agencies, as well as in fiscal grants and grants provided in the form of equipment.

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Community watch is “a modern form of patriotism” as these officers take part in border protection as volunteers in their own free time, and perform an important community task, the Prime Minister’s appointee said.

Mr Nyitrai pointed out that there is a continued need for the border fence and border protection because there is increasing pressure on the Hungarian border. Last year, more than 17,000 illegal immigrants tried to enter the country, and this year their number is already above two thousand, he said.

He took the view that migration has a negative impact on Europe’s security, and wherever migrants appeared, the number of violent crimes has increased as has the threat of terrorism.

Security and the protection of the economy and families continue to remain the government’s top priorities, he highlighted, adding that Hungarian citizens can only rely on Fidesz-KDNP as opposition parties are pro-immigration.

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Zoltán Csaplár, Municipal Vice-President of the National Community Watch Association stressed that also this year the association would like to provide every assistance for law enforcement agencies with the protection of the country.

After the large 2015 migration invasion, within the association they formed a border protection section for the protection of the country and the four Southern counties concerned, Baranya County, Bács-Kiskun County, Békés County and Csongrád County, he recalled. He said 1,719 community watch officers from 86 units take part in this section. They were involved in the apprehension of 530 persons, and took part in 15 coordinated border policing operations in the vicinity of the Serbian, Croatian and Romanian borders.

Community watch officers are also performing important tasks at the triple border. The mounted division operating under the auspices of the National Community Watch Association has also joined the section’s work, he added.

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The Vice-President highlighted that border protection is an area of expertise for which not all community watch officers have been trained, and therefore it is necessary to lay more emphasis on their training. The staff must be rejuvenated on an ongoing basis, and to this end they must continuously involve young people in their activities, Mr Csaplár said.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)