Audit Office: Czech Republic Still Lacks A Comprehensive Plan To Protect Soft Targets From Terrorist Attacks
The Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) investigated how the Ministries of Interior, Culture, and Health allocated state funds for a system to protect soft targets (e.g., schools and public spaces, hospitals, or cultural facilities) from terrorist and other attacks between 2016 and 2021. Photo credit: Vít Rakušan / FB
Czech Republic, June 12 (BD) – The audit focused not only on how the grants were allocated, but also on how effective the ministries were at achieving their goals or assessing the impact of the money distributed. Although the Czech Republic has addressed this issue since 2010, ministries have not yet begun to support investments to protect soft targets and enable them to respond in the event of an attack in a way that minimises damage. Therefore, the audit found that the Ministry of the Interior has not yet developed the system to fully protect soft targets.
In 2017, the government approved the Soft Target Protection Concept 2017-2020, which aimed to create a functioning system in the Czech Republic to respond flexibly and quickly to threats of attack. Within two years, all three ministries involved began to provide financial support for so-called non-investment programs. Their main focus was the development of security analysis and documentation to improve the protection of soft targets and the organisation of training, seminars and exercises. This was to be followed by concrete investments starting in 2021. This process was supposed to lead to the creation of a comprehensive national system for the protection of soft targets, which has not yet happened.
The ministries spent a total of CZK 194 million out of the CZK 347 million allocated for 2019-2021. Although the Ministries of Culture and Health initially created a plan to increase the protection of some soft priority targets, selecting 46 hospitals and 57 cultural institutions for non-investment programs, they later abandoned this plan by expanding the number of beneficiaries. Nonetheless, CZK 153 million of the allocated funds have not been spent.
The inquiry also focused on how ministries distributed grants and selected specific projects. It found that in 2019 the Ministry of Health provided a grant of CZK 623,000 for risk analysis of a theatre building or CZK 1.2 million for a library. In 2020, it set an upper limit of CZK 350,000 for similar analyses, and grantees have always managed to comply with this new limit. In addition, the NKÚ found that in the context of non-investment programs, ministries did not set specific and measurable targets to be achieved and subsequently evaluated.