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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Polish police sought for Scotland
Police on the beat
Officers from Eastern Europe could be recruited to Scottish forces
Police from Eastern Europe could soon be patrolling Scotland's streets under plans currently being considered by senior officers.

It is hoped forces could recruit trained police officers directly from countries such as Poland and Latvia to help address a recruitment shortfall.

Currently only UK and Irish citizens can join Scotland's police forces.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said it would investigate new employment protocols.

The age profile of officers throughout Scotland means many will retire in the next few years and chief constables are planning to step up recruitment to keep numbers steady.

Peter Thickett, of Acpos, said one idea was to import trained officers from Eastern Europe.

But he said the main barrier to recruiting foreign nationals was difficulties in carrying out cross-border criminal record checks.

Scots law

To over come this, Acpos hopes to set up a system which would allow participating EU states to share access to criminal records.

Mr Thickett said the recruits would also need to be fully versed in Scots law before they were allowed to work within a Scottish force.

The Scottish Executive said it was committed to supporting the police in their efforts to secure the best recruits and would "look with interest" at any proposals that might help the police to achieve that.

Dozens of Polish dentists have already started work in Scotland to help fill a gap in NHS services.

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