Parliament Approves Ban on Unathorised Train Patrols

Parliament bans unauthorised train patrols (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 25 (TASR) – Only the police or people assigned to the task by railway network operators or carriers will be able to keep tabs on public order on trains and at railway stations as of February, as MPs passed a respective bill by 98 votes on Tuesday.

Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid), whose ministry prepared the legislation along with the Interior Ministry, confirmed that the move was a reaction to the activities of the far-right Opposition Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS), which has organised patrols on selected passenger trains known to have problems with safety. “Nobody can replace the police in this state or pretend to do so,” stated Zitnanska.

“Activities aimed at protecting the public in terms of property, life or health can only be carried out by the police or an entity authorised by a railway company,” explained Zitnanska, adding that it will be possible to punish those who fail to adhere to the new rules.

State-run rail passenger carrier ZSSK had previously issued a new transport regulation forbidding such activities, but the regulation failed to discourage LSNS from its patrols, and the Opposition party announced that it was expanding them as of the autumn.

“The law goes above and beyond what a carrier is able to stipulate in a transport regulation at the moment,” said Zitnanska. However, she personally doesn’t expect it to resolve the problem completely in view of the wider context.

“Political entities developing activities simply to give the impression that this state is malfunctioning, thereby allowing them to come up with their own solutions will always seek ways to assert their extremist agenda in society. I have no doubt that if we make one way difficult for them, they will seek other targets. The state’s role is to be able to obstruct them constantly,” added Zitnanska.

LSNS leader Marian Kotleba in front of the railway station in Zvolen (Banska Bystrica region) on April 11 announced the setting up of patrols on trains in response to an attack on a 21-year-old woman that took place on a train heading from Nove Zamky (Nitra region) to Zvolen on April 7.