Police’s ‘Buy German’ gun policy queried | E15.cz

Police’s ‘Buy German’ gun policy queried

Cvičná střelba v České zbrojovce, pistole
Cvičná střelba v České zbrojovce, pistole
ZDROJ: Michael Tomes, E15

Pavel Otto

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The arsenals of police bodies such as the Rapid Response Unit and the riot police are to be expanded with new weapon varieties worth several million crowns.

The Czech Police Presidium has decided against initiating a public tender process, even a narrow one, in which at least some Czech arms makers such as Uherský Brod-based Česká Zbrojovka a. s. could participate. As in the past, it has instead issued smaller commissions for four specific weapons types made by German arms maker Heckler & Koch. Among others, this includes 60 sets of the old generation sub-machine gun MP7 A1 worth more than CZK 3m. The call for bids was made public last month; deliveries must be made by mid-December. No-one other than the official Czech representative of the aforementioned German firm can meet the stated requirements.

Česká Zbrojovka has complained that it will be unable to offer its products for consideration. “I asked the police president to verify the existing commission,” Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (ČSSD) told E15 daily. However, he also added that Czech police had been unconvinced by the arguments made by domestic arms manufacturers.

“The requested Heckler & Koch firearms types gradually began to be used between 2001 and 2012. The aim of this order is
to supplement the existing arsenal. No flaws have been found [in the order],” the presidium added in response. And yet the results of a comparison of the MP7 A1 with the Czech-made automatic Scorpion EVO-3, or the German G36 gun with the Czech CZ 805 BREN are unavailable.

Other reasons why Heckler & Koch has been given priority are also lacking. What is also curious about the presidium’s
approach is that the Czech police service is also purchasing accessories that are not directly dependent on the German-made weaponry.

In this case too, bids are only open to Heckler & Koch’s Czech representative. For future suppliers, the current order for guns and automatic weapons is more important for its prestige and value in terms of international references than for its financial worth.

At present, the French military is preparing a public tender for the purchase of 160,000 weapons worth several billions of crowns over the next decade. And one of the main rivals of Česká Zbrojovka in this bid is Heckler & Koch. The fact that the Czech police service – including its specially trained units – will be outfitted with German weaponry, will be made use of by
Heckler & Koch not only in France but in the rest of the world. In the past decade, the Czech police service has purchased around 46,000 guns from Česká Zbrojovka.

Today the firm, one of the key employers in the Zlín region, is seeking to make a mark with a new generation of rifles, automatic weapons and pistols. Several years ago, the Czech military bet on this very weapon; last year, the Egyptian military did the same; and this year, the Mexican police service also plumped for it.

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