In the Yugoslav nationwide defence system, internal affairs organs were part of the armament forces. At their work they used numerous communication resources. Some of the resources will be described here regarding the period the site deals with - from the World War II to 1991. For easier understanding, some of the crucial details from the history of internal affairs organs will be mentioned. Also, though in the period mentioned the term "police" (from Greek word πολίτεία – state administration, state affairs, a part of a state authority dealing with public order) had not been used, we will use the term "police" as a shorter and commonly known term.
Unlike the Army whose organisation and competence included the whole Yugoslavia territory, the police was organized in a decentralized way, based on a territorial principle. According to this, republic laws (and also the provinces’ laws after 1971 constitutional changes) defined the affairs, competences and organisation of the internal affairs organs on their territory. Internal affairs organisation was highly influenced by political circumstances in the world (for example straining relations with Warsaw Pact states in 1948, after the Cominform Resolution Declaration) and in the state (Plenum of Brioni in 1966). Another issue that influenced equipping was the fact that organs of internal affairs were financed locally at a municipality level.
The first organs for background securing and maintaining public order were established as far back as during the World War II at liberated territories. These organs were named differently: national, rural and partisan guard or national militia (Latin militia – army service, national army, armed people). On May the 13th 1944 the Department for People Protection (OZN) was established, and in August the same year out of NOV and POJ (National Liberating Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia) members the Corpus of National Defence of Yugoslavia (KNOJ) was formed representing operational units of OZN. The date was celebrated as the Security Day.
Immediately after the liberation of Belgrade the training of the first members of the National Militia started. At the beginning, militiamen executed exclusively patrolling, guarding and escorting services while the facilities and institutions were secured by the KNOJ and the Yugoslav Army (JA) members. The first militiamen were not uniformly dressed and were differed only by a tricolour flag ribbon with a five-pointed star and NM letters.
The 1946 Constitution established National Militia Directorate, National Militia Command, Public Security Directorate and State Security Directorate (State Security Directorate - UDB was made through transferring some parts of OZN into the General-Federal MoI), all belonging to the General – Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs. Military organisation, uniforms and ranks were kept. The 1953 Constitutional reforms led to deep changes. Instead of existing ministries, secretaries were formed – Federal Secretary of Internal Affairs (SSUP) and Republic Secretaries of Internal Affairs (RSUP). During the phase of demilitarisation of SSUP, UDB stopped to be a militarily organised, uniformed service and it’s operational forces - the KNOJ were discharged (the tasks of the KNOJ were divided between border units of the Yugoslav National Army and the National Militia). The National Militia kept ranks but with changed insignia, militiamen were allowed to wear civil cloths out of duty and official ID numbers were introduced (at the nickel-plated belt badge). Equipment and armament were very diversified because the Militia was equipped with trophy weapons or weapons given by the Allies.
More and more prominent demilitarisation led to the new service reorganization in 1956 by enacting the first Law on Internal Affairs Organs. Great deal of affairs was conveyed to republic and administrative-territorial units. Through the 1963 Constitutional changes and the 1964 Basic Law on Internal Affairs Service the decentralisation continued by forming basic internal affairs organs at a municipality level.
After the 1966 Plenum of Brioni (at which Aleksandar Rankovic, up-to-then Federal Minister of Internal Affairs and Vice President of the Republic who was in control of all police and secret services of Yugoslavia was removed from the position) major changes arose and made official by the Basic Law on Internal Affairs in 1966. Previous unitary system of Yugoslav state security was demolished. Internal affairs were concentrated into two services: Public Security Service (SJB – Militia, crime repression, traffic safety and border issues) and State Security Service (DB – later SDB). The National Militia changed the name into the Militia, a numerous personnel and organizational changes were made (Militia became a part of SJB), ranks were retracted and position insignia were introduced (worn similarly as rank insignia, but marking a function that a member of an internal affairs organ performs).
Decentralisation continued through the 1971 Constitutional amendments, the 1974 Constitution and laws enacted upon the new Constitution. Equipping and arming became a competence of republic and province secretaries. Organs of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija were functioning according to province laws, although being constituents of Serbia. Opposite from StateSecurity Services that were still organized at a republic and province level, Public Security Services fitted into the conception of social self-protection and disunited security system (further decentralisation). In essence, relations between federal and republic and province secretaries were established upon principles of agreement, mutual acting and coordinated performance, and not on principles of hierarchy and subordination. System decentralised in this way with elements not turned professional, displayed its numerous deficiencies as far back as 1972, when a terrorist group raided Yugoslav territory. On the basis of this experience and upon law modifications made in 1972, 1977 and 1979, special antiterrorist units of Ministry of Internal Affairs were established, as well as the first police operative-pursuing groups. In accordance with constitutional changes and reorganization of internal affairs organs, position insignia were retracted and title insignia were introduced.
This kind of decentralisation, numerous law solutions and great financial discrepancies led to deep differences in organization and equipping of internal affairs organs. There was the Federal Secretary of Internal Affairs at the federal level. There were Republic and Province Secretaries of Internal Affairs at republic and province levels. At regional levels there were several various organs depending on republic or province in question (SUP – Secretary of Internal Affairs, ZSUP – Joint Secretary of Internal Affairs, MSUP – Intermunicipality Secretary of Internal Affairs, CJB – Centre of Public Security, CB – Security Centre). At municipal levels, depending on the size of a municipal territory, there were Department of Internal Affairs (OUP), Militia Station (SM), Militia Department (OM) and the like.
Regarding communications, at municipal levels communication affairs were assigned to semi-professional communications officers (mostly militiamen from Duty Centres, trained at appropriate courses), while at regional and higher levels there was an organizational communications unit (office, department, directorate) with professional personnel. All known communications systems existed but the usage was slightly different compared to the Army. Professional communications officers worked on telegraph and telephone communications systems, radio-relay and short wave radio systems. Whole different situation was in the area of radiotelephone connections (VHF and UHF): systems were installed and maintained by professional communications officer and used mainly by uniformed members (militiamen) and civil operative structures from Public Security Service.
In order to form and maintain communications systems in these circumstances, Inter-departmental Commission was established at the federal level. The Commission made settlements and recommendations concerning further development of communications. At republic and province levels there were Communications Commissions whose members were Heads of Communications (in larger centres the Head of a Communications Department and in smaller centres the Head of a Communications Office) and Deputy-Commissioners of all regional organs (SUP-MSUP-ZSUP) or Assistant Commissioners in charge for Public Security Service. Also, members of the Commission were Heads of Communications and one official (Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary) from a republic or province Secretary. The Commission viewed all communications issues and made decisions upon further development and communications matters. There was the Equipping Normative, agreed upon and accepted at the Commission. The Normative provided minimum amounts of equipment and communications resources by type for internal affairs organs on every level. Besides, the Commission made decisions about simultaneous equipping with one kind of equipment, in order to make a communications system run efficiently. The supplying or renewing priorities were determined taking into consideration state of a communications system and the priorities had to be complied with by everybody (for example, one year everybody had to buy electronic teleprinters, the next special telephone switchboards, another year all were buying SW radio-stations etc). Everybody had to have equipment whose type and amount were defined by the Normative, and they were allowed to buy more of it in accordance with their own needs and finances.