Czech Police force hoping to recruit more Roma, Vietnamese and Ukrainians

03-08-2006

The Czech Police force has decided to recruit members of three minority groups. If everything goes according to plan, more Roma, Vietnamese and Ukrainians could join the force as early as next year. Dita Asiedu reports:

According to interior ministry spokeswoman Radka Kovarova, the police plan has two main goals:

"Firstly, so that the police in general gain more trust from the minority groups in question. Secondly, we want this initiative to have an effect on ordinary Czechs too. They need to start getting used to the fact that the make-up of the police force reflects the make-up of society here."

Regardless of whether the applicant was born here or not, the main condition will be that he/she has Czech citizenship, a clean criminal record, and secondary school education. The new police officers are also not expected to concentrate on their minority group alone. So how do ordinary Czechs feel about the plan? We took to the streets of Prague to find out:

Man: "I think anyone who is well behaved should be allowed to join the police. But as far as people from the countries in question are concerned, I don't think they're behaviour is suitable. I don't trust them and anytime there's a problem it's because of a Ukrainian or a Roma...those that are dark skinned are causing most trouble."

Man: "I don't have a problem with this. I respect other people. Ukrainians, Polish. I think this city is multicultural."

Woman: "I think it depends on the individual Vietnamese or Roma. From what I've heard, the Vietnamese are integrating into the rest of society quite well. They are hard-working, capable, and the kids in school even win mathematics competitions for us. The Roma, on the other hand, reject these things. But if the individual is capable - no matter whether Vietnamese, Roma, or Ukrainian - then why not."

Man: "All citizens should be equal, no matter where they are from. If he meets all conditions, has a clean record and so on, I see no problem."

The initiative begins this autumn with an information campaign using flyers, posters, and meetings at the labour office. The enrolment procedures will start as soon as an evaluation of applicants has been made. That could be as early as next year.

03-08-2006