UK: East Lancashire police learning Polish

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Jan 23 15:26:07 UTC 2007

Polish-ing up on language skills

POLICE officers are being taught Polish in a bid to communicate with the
thousands of Polish workers who have come to East Lancashire. Bosses have
made cash available for officers to learn foreign languages and one of the
most popular choices are lessons in Polish. Police chiefs believe the move
will help build relations with new European workers in the area. It is
said that Polish workers often have a mistrust of the police due to bad
experiences in their homeland and come to the county with little or no
English Sergeant John Rigby, of Blackburn police's ethnic mino-rity team,
said: "We believe languages help officers broaden their outlook and break
down communication barriers.

"The problem is we are now spoilt for choice as there are so many
different language courses on offer and we have a lot of officers and
PCSOs who are bi-lingual. " Officers are already taking advantage of the
courses. PC Neil Lever, who had taken a course in Polish, attended a road
traffic accident involving a Polish HGV driver. The driver knew very
little English but the situation was resolved thanks to PC Lever being
able to use Polish phrases to communicate with the injured driver. A
spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "Under our training and
qualifications policy we do offer funding and support should an officer
take on an adult education course.

"Lancashire Constabulary takes the training of its officers very seriously
and encourages its staff in any aspect of training they feel would improve
their ability to perform the role the public expects of them. "If an
officer felt they would benefit from a qualification in a foreign language
we would offer support through partial or full funding and time off to
attend the course. "Being able to break down communication barriers is
fundamental to being able to build good relationships within the new
communities to keep those communities safe and crime free." Witold
Stachowski and his wife Agnieszka moved to Accrington and opened Polish
delicatessen DaDa in Accrington Road, Blackburn, to cater for the 3,000
ex-pats living in East Lancashire.

Agnieszka said: "I think this is a really good idea. "Some Poles who live
in this area may be a little dubious of the police due to bad experiences
in the past." Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, 98,000
workers have arrived in the UK.

8:20pm Monday 22nd January


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