Charles University mass shooting prompts sweeping review of security measures

Improved response, mental health awareness, gun control, and campus security are part of a multifaceted approach to future crisis management in Czechia.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 12.01.2024 15:39:00 (updated on 12.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech government has approved a resolution authorizing Interior Minister Vít Rakušan to propose a set of measures for responding to crisis situations, including financial demands, as revealed by Rakušan in a press briefing today.

This decision follows the tragic shooting at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University (UK) in Prague in December. In response, the Interior Ministry will present a comprehensive evaluation of the December intervention at the Faculty of Arts to the National Security Council (BRS) on Jan. 31, Rakušan told the press.

Promotion of mental health key

Rakušan emphasized ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Human Rights Commissioner. Additionally, he expressed the Ministry of the Interior's interest in participating in discussions beyond its immediate purview, particularly those concerning the promotion of mental health.

The Dec. 21 shooting at the Faculty of Arts resulted in the loss of 14 lives, including students and teachers. The assailant, identified as a student at the faculty, committed suicide following the attack.

Rakušan asserted that the discourse on crisis response must transcend political boundaries and become a societal dialogue. He stressed the crucial role of prevention, acknowledging that while complete prevention of similar attacks may be unattainable, efforts should be directed at minimizing risks and probabilities.

An internal police review found that officers appropriately handled the intervention and the search for the suspect. However, it highlighted deficiencies in crisis communication with school officials, urging improvements in this area.

Ministry calls for tighter gun laws

The Ministry aims to mandate gun dealers to report suspiciously large weapon purchases and advocates for a compulsory specialized medical examination, including a psychological assessment, for gun license applicants. Rakušan emphasized the need to legislate this obligation rather than relying on voluntary reporting.

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Acknowledging ongoing debates in the Chamber of Deputies on new arms legislation, Rakušan indicated that proposed measures include tightening and modernizing regulations.

To enhance campus security, Jan Paďourek, Chief Director of the Internal Security and Police Education Section, recommended all university faculties conduct security analyses of their buildings before implementing protective measures.

The ministry plans a training session in February, with each university designating a security officer for training who will later disseminate knowledge within their institutions.

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