Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Internal Security

Until 1990 the internal security forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which included the Security Service (Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa--SB), the regular police (Milicja Obywatelska-- MO), the riot police, and a large Citizens' Militia Voluntary Reserve (Ochotnicza Rezerwa Milicji Obywatelskiej--ORMO), were charged with preserving public order and protecting the regime and the PZPR. These forces were especially active during the martial law period of the early 1980s because the Jaruzelski government sought to separate regular military forces from unpopular civilian control actions. All departments of the internal security forces came under intense public pressure for abolition or reform when the first noncommunist government was formed in 1989.

The first stage of reform in the Ministry of Internal Affairs was Kiszczak's reorganization program of 1989, which was designed to satisfy public demands for government rather than party control of the ministry. The reorganization sought to avoid the kind of frontal assault, advocated by radical reformers, that would bring confrontation with entrenched bureaucrats. Kiszczak was suspected of seeking to change his ministry's image without substantially reducing its power. Although the scope of the initial reform was quite broad and nominally separated the Ministry of Internal Affairs from PZPR control, the ministry also remained beyond the control of other branches of government. Kiszczak, who remained minister, refused to replace any of his deputies with Solidarity representatives. After the initial reform, internal affairs departments continued covert surveillance activity, although now with the nominal requirement of court approval.

Data as of October 1992