Separate border guard unit to be organized within PPA structure ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A member of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) at the Estonian-Russian border.
A member of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) at the Estonian-Russian border. Source: Police and Border Guard Board

A separate border guard component within the existing Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is to be established, following a decision by interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and based on the coalition agreement signed between his party, the Center Party and Isamaa a year ago.

The current coronavirus pandemic and its fallout gave an added impetus to the move, Helme said. Work in putting it together starts in May. A new PPA crisis reserve force is also to be formed up.

"Today is a year for the government, and one of its agreed goals was to strengthen the border guard," Helme said Wednesday.

"The current emergency situation also demonstrates that the border guard must be in the vanguard, and be able to perform all its tasks regardless of the crisis," Helme added.

"By creating a separate border guard, we will ensure crisis preparedness and comprehensive management of the arena," Helme went on.

Hitherto border guarding duties had been divided up between the four PPA prefectures, northern, southern, eastern and western.

The new unit is to be headed up by the current border guard deputy director, PPA Director General Elmar Vaher said.

"According to the initial plans, the establishment of the border guard unit will start in the next month," Vaher said.

"First, the statutes of the PPA and the composition of the service positions approved by a regulation of the Minister of the Interior must be changed," he added.

"According to the initial plans, the establishment of the border guard unit will start in the next month," Vaher said.

"First, the statutes of the PPA and the composition of the service positions approved by a regulation of the Minister of the Interior must be changed," he added.

The newly formed border guard unit will be responsible for border surveillance, protection and controls, preventing illegal immigration and transit, sea and inland water rescue, air rescue searches over land, detection and elimination of marine pollution, and further development of the sector, it is reported.

Mart Helme said that in addition to the establishment of an independent management structure, the strengthening of the border guard also includes the establishment of a PPA crisis reserve, additional equipment and training, and the ongoing construction of the eastern border infrastructure.

The PPA itself was formed in 2010 as an amalgamation of, as its name suggests, the police force (Politsei) and the border guard (Piirvalveamet) as well as the migration bureau, the security police and the central criminal police.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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