Policing Overview

Law enforcement in Poland is typically conducted by the National Police (Policja), and by Municipal Guards (Straże Miejskie i Gminne).

Border Security and Management Overview

The Border Guard (Straż Graniczna, SG) is a state security agency tasked with the protection of the Polish borders and immigration control.

Counter Terrorism Overview

Pursuant to the 10 June 2016 Act on Antiterrorist Actions the Head of the Internal Security Agency is responsible for prevention of terrorism, whereas the minister competent for internal affairs – for preparedness, response to a terrorist incident as well as recovery after the attack. 

Cyber/ICT Security Overview

The National Cybersecurity Center (NC Cyber), is responsible for facilitating security collaboration between sectors and for being an early-warning system. Additionally, the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CSIRT NASK, SCIRT GOV and CSIRT MON) coordinate efforts aimed at ensuring  Cyber/ICT Security.

National Police

Functions and missions

Pursuant to Art. 1 of the Police Act of 6 April 1990, the Polish police are a uniformed and armed force, which serve the public, protect life, property, law and order. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • protection of life and property against unlawful attempts in breach of these values;
  • maintenance of public order and safety;
  • crime prevention; 
  • cooperation in crime control with other law enforcement agencies, government and local authorities, as well as with non-governmental organisations;
  • investigation of crimes and minor offences;
  • conducting counter-terrorist operations;
  • protection of specified government facilities;
  • supervision over specialist armed security services defined in separate regulations;
  • control of the compliance with public order and administrative regulations relevant to public activities or applicable in public places;
  • co-operation with foreign police forces and international police associations, based on international agreements and conventions, as well as separate regulations;
  • management of databases including criminal records, DNA data, fingerprint data.

Structure and organisation

Poland has a unified national police force. At the top of the structure exists the National Police Headquarters headed by the National Police Chief. Then, there are 16 Regional Police Headquarters and the Metropolitan Police Headquarters based in Warsaw. Those are further divided into county and district headquarters. At the bottom of the structure there exist police stations in towns and police posts in villages. Police force consists of:

  • Criminal Police (służba kryminalna) - investigation and prevention of serious and violent crime. The criminal police may include specialized teams such as anti-drugs and financial crime prevention units.
  • Investigative Police (służba śledcza) - investigation of complex cases and processing of referrals to the state prosecutor's office;
  • Internal Affairs Police (służba spraw wewnętrznych) –investigating, preventing and countering crimes committed by Police officers and economic crimes against the property of the Police;
  • Preventative Police (służba prewencyjna) - general law enforcement operations and patrol duty (includes anti-terrorist and riot police divisions);
  • Logistical Support Police (służba wspomagająca działalność Policji) - provision of logistical support and technical skills;
  • Judicial Police (Policja Sądowa) - protection of court and state prosecutor's office premises, judges, prosecutors, victims and suspects, execution of court orders;
  • Counterterrorist units – conducting counter-terrorism operations and assisting other Police units.

The organizational structure of counterterrorist units is currently being reorganized. The 9 November 2018 Act Amending the Act on Police constitutes within the Police a unified counterterrorist service that will consist of the Central Counterterrorist Unit “BOA” and (operating regionally) 17 subunits that will be supervised by BOA. The aim of the reform is to unify the structure of command and the level of equipment and training of the counterterrorist subunits that previously acted to a large extent independently from the central unit. The 9 November 2018 Act is expected to enter into force in the second quarter of 2019.


Police education and training are provided in the form of various undertakings. These are:

  • basic training for all police recruits;
  • specialist training courses in different areas of police work;
  • commissioned-officer training;
  • undergraduate studies in internal security, criminology, management, IT for security;
  • graduate studies in internal security, criminology;
  • preparation a doctoral dissertation and  awarding of doctor’s degree;
  • post-graduate studies in forensic and security-related subject matters.

Basic training and specialist training courses are delivered by three police schools, located in Pila, Slupsk and Katowice, one  Police Training Centre in Legionowo, and Police Academy in Szczytno.

Police commissioned-officer training and police studies are provided exclusively by the Police Academy in Szczytno. Education offered at the Police Academy is profiled, based on scientific research on security issues, and taking into account the varied nature of police performance.

Doctoral dissertations are oriented at the scientific exploration of internal security problems and the development of law enforcement in Poland.


The Minister of the Interior and Administration supervises the Chief of the Police.

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Municipal Guards

Functions and missions

The present arrangement for municipal guards in Poland was created after the fall of Communism, partly to provide a 'counterweight' to a national police force, and partly to ensure that the needs of local communities were not neglected with such a centralized agency. Municipal Guards have fewer powers than the Police (for instance they do not have a power of arrest), and can only exercise what powers they have in their own municipality. They have jurisdiction over misdemeanours, they supervise and protect the safety of citizens and property, and assist the Police in duties aimed at maintaining public order (eg. regarding road safety). In the event of a major incident, a Municipal Guard must request the aid of an officer of the Police. They can also perform security guard duties and transport valuables for the municipality.

Structure and organisation

The detailed organisational structure of the Municipal Guards varies, as it depends on the individual Guard regulations of the council of each municipality.


Supervision of the Guards is conducted by the Mayor and the voivode  who control the following areas (with assistance from the Voivodship Police Commander):

  • exercising of powers;
  • the use of firearms and means of direct coercion;
  • record-keeping.

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Polish Border Guard

Functions and missions

The Border Guard (Straż Graniczna, SG) is a unified, uniformed and armed law enforcement service set up for the purpose of the border protection and border traffic control performance as well as prevention and combating illegal migration

Border Guard  main tasks include:

  • protection of the state border;
  • organization and performance of border traffic control;
  • combating illegal migration - performing control of third-country nationals with regard to the legality of entry, stay, employment and business activity;
  • fighting border crime and pursuing perpetrators (organized illegal migration, trafficking in human beings, smuggling);
  • preventing cross-border transportation of drugs, psychotropic substances, wastes, nuclear and radioactive materials, weapons, ammunition and explosives without a proper permit;
  • surveillance of maritime border and supervision over the use of Polish maritime areas and monitoring vessels for their compliance with the regulations in effect in that area;
  • ensuring security in international transportation and public order in the territorial range of border crossing points and in the border zone;
  • cooperation in the field of counteracting terrorist threats with other state services and agencies.

Structure and organisation

Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard supervises following  organizational structure:

  • BG Headquarters in Warsaw
    • Commanding Center of the Commander-in-Chief
    • Border Management Department
    • Department for Aliens Affairs Investigative Department
    • Bureau of International Affairs
    • Human Resources and Training Bureau
    • Legal Affairs Bureau 
    • Control Bureau
    • Finance Bureau
    • IT Bureau
    • Technique and Supply Bureau
    • Information Protection Bureau
    • Internal Audit
  • 9 Border Guard Regional Units which perform the service tasks at the border and inside the country.
  • Border Guard Internal Affairs Bureau - as a separate unit of the Border Guard with its regional detachments.


The SG maintains several training centres in Poland, called Guard Training Centers:

  • Central Border Guard Training Center, located in Koszalin
  • Border Guard Training Center in Kętrzyn
  • Specialized Training Center of the Border Guard in Luban


Control Bureau of the BG HQ performs controls of the Border Guard units and departments activities and deals with complaints. Border Guard Internal Affairs Bureau is responsible for prevention and revealing of offences and crimes committed by BG officers. 

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Interministerial Team for Terrorist Threats

Functions and missions

The Interministerial Team for Terrorist Threats was established 25 October 2006 as an auxiliary organ of the Council of Ministers. The team unites all members of the polish counterterrorist system i.a.: the Minister of the Interior and Administration (chair of the Team), Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Minister of Justice,  Head of Internal Security Agency, Head of the Intelligence Agency, Head of the State Protection Service , Chief of the Police, Chief of the  Border Guard, Chief of the Military Intelligence Service, Chief of the Counter-Intelligence Military Service, the Government Security Centre, the Chief of the National Revenue Administration, General Inspector of Financial Information  Additionally, the National Prosecutor takes part in the work of the Team.

The basic tasks of the team include:

  • monitoring of terrorist threats, their analysis and evaluation and the submission of opinions to the Council of Ministers;
  • elaboration of counter-terrorism standards and procedures, with special reference to the threats assessment;
  • initiating, coordinating and monitoring the activity of the competent state administration authorities, paying particular attention to the follow-up of information and the identification, prevention and suppression of terrorism;
  • submission of proposals to the competent ministries concerning legislative initiatives aimed at upgrading the methods of combating terrorism;
  • the organisation of training courses and conferences on combating terrorism.

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Internal Security Agency

Functions and missions

The Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) is a government institution which, under Polish law, is responsible for the internal security of the Republic of Poland. The ABW is responsible for analyzing, reporting and preventing threats to Poland's internal security, including terrorism, foreign espionage, arms smuggling, drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and economic coercion. Its powers include arresting individuals, conducting searches and investigations, and combating terrorism with a specialized armed anti-terrorist force.

The fight against terrorism requires close cooperation with other services and state institutions as well as international organisations. Effective coordination of actions taken by units in charge of anti-terrorist protection of Poland is to be ensured by the Counter -Terrorist Centre (Centrum Antyterrorystyczne – CAT) established within the Internal Security Agency.

The Counter -Terrorist Centre of the Internal Security Agency is a coordination and analysis unit in the area of preventing and combating terrorism. The Centre gathers officers of services and state institutions relevant in the fight against terrorism and operates in 24/7 mode. The main task is to coordinate the activities carried out by national institutions relating to the exchange of information regarding terrorist threats and cooperation with the relevant institutions at an international level. The CDC comprises, apart from officers of the ABW, seconded officers, soldiers and employees of e.g. the Police, the Border Guard, the State Protection Service, the Foreign Intelligence Agency, the Military Intelligence Service, the Military Counterintelligence Service and the National Revenue Administration. They carry out tasks within competences of the institution which they represent.

The counter-terrorist prevention task of ABW is complemented by the Terrorism Prevention Center of Excellence (TPCoE) – the unit responsible for gathering experiences and best practices in the frames of CT-field. TPCoE conducts training for the national administration based on the experiences of Polish and foreign services, scientific facilities and other institutions aimed at raising threat awareness and preparedness for CT-protection activities.

Structure and organisation

The ABW's central operations centre is located in the Mokotów borough of Warsaw, standing in close proximity to the Ministry of Interior and Administration. The ABW maintains five regional offices in Poland's major cities. Additionally, the ABW maintains international liaison offices within Polish diplomatic missions in Brussels, Kiev, Moscow, the Hague and Riga. The structure of the agency is as follows:

  • IT Security Department (Department I)
  • Counter-Intelligence (Department II)
  • Department of Criminal Investigations (Department III)
  • Classified Information Protection Department (Department IV)
  • Department of Operational and Technical Support (Department V)
  • Department of Internal Security and Auditing (Department VI)
  • Strategic Threats Department (Department VII)
  • Department of Information, Analysis and Forecasting (Department VIII)
  • Counter-Terrorist Centre (CAT)
  • Legal Office (Office A)
  • Forensic Bureau (Office B)
  • Cabinet of the Head (Office D)
  • Bureau of Registry and Archive (Office E)
  • Finance Office (Office F)
  • Personnel Office (K)
  • Logistics Office (Office L)
  • Central Training and Education Facility (COS) in Emów.
  • 5 main field offices in Białystok, Gdańsk, Katowice, Lublin and Poznań, as well as regional units in Bydgoszcz, Krakow, Lodz, Olsztyn, Opole, Radom, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Wrocław and Zielona Góra.


The agency's training facility is located in Emów, in Masovian Voivodeship.


The activities of the ABW, along with the other special services are provided oversight by the Prime Minister of Poland directly, or through a specially appointed minister working within the Chancellery. The Head of the ABW reports to the prime minister regarding security matters of concern.

A Committee of Special Services under the Council of Ministers within the Chancellery retains responsibility of planning, coordinating and overseeing the activities of the ABW and all other special services. The agency's legal activities are tied to the Public Prosecutor General, who is regularly informed by the ABW's Head of the agency's course of actions. Additionally, the Special Services Committee within the Sejm evaluates the performance of the agency, giving an opinion to budgetary concerns, investigations and cooperation among the special services.

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General Inspector of Financial Information

Functions and missions

The General Inspector of Financial Information is the main authority dealing with counteracting terrorist financing according to the Act of 1 March 2018 on counteracting money laundering and terrorist financing. The tasks of the General Inspector encompass, in particular:

  • analysing information related to assets, in relation to which the General Inspector has reasonable suspicion that it is associated with the crime of money laundering or terrorist financing;
  • co-operation with the domestic institutions in charge of the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism;
  • co-operation with competent authorities of other countries as well as foreign institutions and international organisations dealing with combating money laundering or terrorist financing;
  • administration of the data received from designated institutions;
  • exercising control over the compliance of obliged institutions with the regulations on counteracting money laundering and terrorist financing
  • drafting of relevant legal acts;
  • preparation of periodical reports on the General Inspector of Financial Information’s activities, including the suspension of bank transactions or the blockage of bank accounts in relation to the financing of terrorism;
  • issuing decisions concerning the listing of persons and entities towards which special restrictive measures are applied with the purpose of counteracting terrorism and terrorist financing, or their deleting from the list as well as keeping this list.

Obligated institutions (e.g. banks, financial institutions, legal professions, non-profit organisations) and co-operating units (e.g. central administration, local government, the National Bank of Poland) inform the Polish Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) supervised by the General Inspector of Financial Information about suspicious transactions or suspicious activity. The Polish FIU i.e. the Department of Financial Information operating within the Ministry of Finance verifies the reported suspected cases of money laundering and financing of terrorism, collects the evidence and informs the Prosecutor’s Office which in co-operation with the law enforcement authorities take the necessary steps aiming at completing the indictment against the suspects. The authorized entities, mainly the Prosecutor’s Office and the law enforcement agencies, use the Polish Financial Intelligence Unit’s data about the transactions only on a written request.

Structure and organisation

The General Inspector of Financial Information is positioned within the structure of the Ministry of Finance.

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National Cybersecurity Centers/CSIRT NASK, CSIRT GOV, CSIRT MON

Functions and missions

Under the 5 July 2018 Act on the National Cybersecurity System, CSIRT NASK (operated by the National and Academic Computer Network) , SCIRT GOV (operated by the National Security Agency) and SCIRT MON (operated by the Minister of National Defense) coordinate the maintenance of cybersecurity incidents that fall within their separate spheres of competence.

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Criminal Justice System


The Constitutional principles of organization and functioning of the judiciary in Poland cover the legal and organizational status of court authorities, proceedings before courts and the legal status of the judge. Art. 173 of the Polish Constitution of 2 April 1997 provides for the dualism of the judiciary authority. It is composed of courts and tribunals. Courts encompass:

  • the Supreme Court
  • common courts
  • administrative courts, including the Supreme Administrative Court
  • military courts.

As regards tribunals, the Constitution lists the Constitutional Tribunal and the Tribunal of the State.

Common courts administer justice in all matters, with an exception of matters which are reserved, by law, to the competence of other courts, and are divided into:

  • Regional courts (established for one or more communes, and, in justified cases, more than one regional court may be established for a single commune)
  • District courts (established for the area of jurisdiction of at least two regional courts)
  • Appeal courts (established for the area of jurisdiction of at least two district courts).

Judges of common courts are appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland at the motion of the National Judiciary Council for an unspecified period of time. 

The National Judiciary Council is a constitutional collegiate body, guarding the independence of courts and of judges. The present system, scope of operation and procedure of work of the Council are specified by the Constitution and the Law of 27 July 2001 on the National Judiciary Council.


The prosecution service consists of Prosecutor General, National Prosecutor, other deputies of the Prosecutor General and prosecutors of common organizational units of the prosecution service, and prosecutors of the Institute of National Remembrance.

There are 358 district prosecutors’ offices, 45 circuit prosecutors’ offices, 11 regional prosecutors’ offices and the National Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecution service performs tasks in the field of law enforcement and safeguards the rule of law. The Prosecution Service is, inter alia,

  • conducting or supervising preparatory proceedings in criminal matters and performing the functions of the public prosecutor before the courts;
  • initiating actions in civil matters and submit proposals and participate in court proceedings in civil, labour law and social insurance;
  • taking the measures provided for by law, intended to correct and uniform application of the law in court proceedings, administrative, in misdemeanour cases and other procedures provided for by law;
  • exercising supervision of the execution of decisions on temporary detention and other decisions on deprivation of liberty
  • researching in the field of crime, and issuing the control and prevention of and cooperation  with scientific units in research on the problem of crime, combat and prevent and control;
  • gathering, processing and analysis in IT systems of data, including personal data originating from the proceedings conducted or supervised under the law and from participation in court proceedings, administrative proceedings, in matters concerning misdemeanours and in other proceedings stipulated by the law, transfer of data and analysis results to the relevant authorities, including the authorities of another state, if stipulated by the law or an international treaty ratified by the Republic of Poland
  • lodging complaints to courts against unlawful administrative decisions and participation in court proceedings in matters concerning such decisions’ compliance with the law;
  • coordinating the activities of law enforcement or fiscal offences, carried out by other state bodies;
  • cooperating with state bodies, state bodies and social organisations in the prevention of crime and other violations of law;
  • cooperating with the Head of the National Criminal Information Center to the extent necessary to carry out its tasks
  • co-operation and participation in activities undertaken by international organizations or supra-national organizations, operating on the basis of international treaties, including treaties establishing international organizations, ratified by the Republic of Poland
  • an issue of opinions regarding drafts of normative acts;
  • co-operation with organizations associating prosecutors of employees of prosecutor’s offices, including co-financing of joint research or training projects.

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