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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 13:36 GMT
Police look at Polish recruitment
police generic
Police chiefs are looking at ways to cope with the changing community
North Wales Police are considering recruiting Polish-speaking officers because of high levels of immigration.

Growing numbers of Polish people have settled in the area since their country joined the European Union (EU) in 2004.

Deputy chief constable Clive Wolfendale said the force was looking at a number of measures to improve service.

Benedykt Golli, a Pole who does not speak English and works in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, said his problems occurred only when dealing with officialdom.

North Wales Police recently launched a scheme in Flintshire to provide help and advice for the Polish community, who are the largest migrant workers' group in the county.

I'm not against any community becoming police officers as long as they meet the requirements
Douglas Madge, Bangor mayor
The Open Door project aims to give foreign workers better access to information, including personal safety, road traffic legislation, environmental health and other related matters.

"The Polish community in particular is growing rapidly in this area," said Mr Wolfendale.

"The appointment of Polish officers is only one of a number of suggestions under consideration."

Mr Golli, 43, speaking with his employer translating - who in turn speaks to him in Russian - said having a Polish-speaking police officer would be a help if anything happened.

"There is no problem, day-to-day at work and in the shops," he said.

"Problems only arise with anything official, dealing with the council, or when I got a speeding ticket," he said.

'Day-to-day problems'

Mr Golli's employer Robert Wright said: "I think it's essential that the police speak the language of the people of the area they are in: in this area Welsh and English.

"But it would help too if they had one policeman, say in Caernarfon, where Polish people could ring if they had a problem."

Bangor mayor Douglas Madge, who organised the city's first multi-cultural event last month to encourage understanding between different sections of the community, welcomed the move, as long as standards were maintained.

"I'm not against any community becoming police officers as long as they meet the requirements - in the language or health or whatever - of the police force, otherwise it's going to be too much of a mish-mash.

"The requirements of the police should be stuck to stringently, there must be no lowering of standards."

According to immigration pressure group Migrationwatch UK, 40% of East European immigrants go to London and the remainder spread out across the rest of the UK.

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