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Special Police Unit 19 March 2021

On 16 March 2023, a ceremony was held at the Brdo Congress Centre to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Special Unit. The event was attended by the Acting Director General of the Police Senad Jušić and colleagues, Minister of the Interior Boštjan Poklukar and colleagues, current and former members of this elite unit of the Slovenian police and other invited guests.

Video SE 50 let proslava izrez

Video of the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Special Unit

Trained to help, but not afraid to strike

Commander Damjan Žagar emphasised in his speech that the work of the Red Panthers, as our Special Unit is called, is very demanding and unlike ordinary police work: "The strength of the Special Unit is based on knowledge, skills and experience that have been developed and enriched throughout history. Red Panthers follow the motto "Trained to help, but not afraid to strike". This motto is our response to the challenges ahead, i.e. to be ready to fight terrorism, dangerous criminals and extreme violence. Legality and professionalism are the fundamental principles on which we will not compromise. We have been a fundamental bulwark of the constitutional postulates of the rule of law at all key moments of Slovenia's independence and development."

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"We are aware of the fact that when we are activated, there is no one else that could act but us. This is both a burden and a privilege, which gives us the responsibility to never be truly satisfied and to demand more, first of ourselves and then of others, and above all, absolute adherence to the highest standards," said Žagar.

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The words of the Commander of the Special Unit were reinforced by the Acting Director General of the Police, Senad Jušić, who took the opportunity to thank the brave members of the unit for their contribution to the safety of all of us, the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia, and to congratulate them on the occasion of their jubilee.

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Finally, the Minister of the Interior, Boštjan Poklukar, addressed the gathered audience, highlighting the historic role of the Special Unit in the independence process and thanking them for their outstanding contribution to the security of Slovenia: "The members of the Special Unit are highly qualified and trained for the most difficult operations. They are activated wherever the highest level of operational efficiency is required. They can operate anywhere - underwater, on the ground and in the air - in the shortest possible time, carrying out high-risk tasks with the highest degree of precision.”

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Appreciation for loyalty and commitment

The speeches were concluded by the presentation of a commemorative badge from the Ministry of the Interior to the Special Unit for its meritorious and successful work on the occasion of the milestone anniversary. The commander of the Special Unit, Damjan Žagar, accepted the badge on behalf of the Unit from the Minister of the Interior.

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As the Special Unit has now reached another milestone in its long history since Slovenia's independence, the current leadership of the Special Unit took the opportunity to publicly pay tribute to all former commanders by presenting them with certificates of appreciation.

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Afterwards, a new banner was ceremonially handed over to the Special Unit and the existing banner was given to the Museum of the Slovenian Police for safekeeping.

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Dedicated exhibition

The central theme of the ceremony was to revisit the development path from the beginning until today. In order to preserve and share this part of our history, the Museum of the Slovenian Police organised a dedicated exhibition in the foyer of the event hall. Darinka Kolar Osvald, curator and head of the museum, guided the guests through the exhibition.

The exhibition "50 Years of the Special Unit" will be on display from 30 March to mid-May 2023 in the windows of the Ministry of the Interior at Štefanova ulica 2, Ljubljana.

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Special Unit today

Such events ordinarily end with music, but this one was rounded off in a different way – with a short film made especially for the occasion. The film showed the Special Unit today, the results of their hard work and training and the many trials of its members, as well as their self-confidence, poise and unity.

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Video of the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Special Unit

A short film presenting the Special Unit today