South Holland policing inspector backs eastern European recruitment drive

Inspector Gareth Boxall, neighbourhood policing inspector for South Holland.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG041217-105TW.
Inspector Gareth Boxall, neighbourhood policing inspector for South Holland. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG041217-105TW.
  • Force seeks to meet needs of Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian speakers
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A recruitment drive by Lincolnshire Police for Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian speakers who also speak English well has been backed by the force in South Holland.

Inspector Gareth Boxall, neighbourhood policing inspector for South Holland, described the campaign launched by Chief Constable Bill Skelly last month as a means to “ protect our community and safeguard victims more effectively”.

Having officers with these languages skills will enable us to investigate crimes more thoroughly, protect our community and safeguard victims more effectively.

Inspector Gareth Boxall, neighbourhood policing inspector for South Holland

Mr Skelly highlighted South Holland as an area where police officers who, as well as being fluent in English, are fluent in Polish, Latvian or Lithuanian as well are needed.

A new strategy for policing the county called “Distinctively Lincolnshire” and unveiled last Novemberi revealed that one in eight of the population in South Holland and Boston where from “a minority ethnic group”.

Inspector Boxall said: “Our police force needs to be able to communicate with the community that we represent and having officers with these language skills will enable us to investigate crimes more thoroughly.

“It will also help us to protect our community and safeguard victims more effectively.”

The recruitment drive has already been backed by the Vicar of Spalding, the Reverend John Bennett, as well as representatives from Spalding’s eastern European community.

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian last month, Latvian-born qualified solicitor and magistrate Gunita Sele, who moved to Spalding six years ago, said: “It’s great news and I’m pleased to see that Lincolnshire Police has started to highlight what its needs are.”

Mr Bennett said: “The recruitment campaign is a very welcome initiative and it should especially appeal to younger people who have grown up in Lincolnshire and are already largely integrated into the community.

“They will be able to play their part in drawing the older generation of migrants more closely into the British way of life.”

Mr Skelly said: “Language barriers often prevent us from giving the very best service to residents who speak limited English.

“We have to be flexible and adjust our workforce to the needs of communities or we are not being efficient in the way we work.

“Having police officers with these particular language skills will be of huge benefit to our investigations and help to ensure vital information is not missed.

“This will also help us to safeguard the public, support victims of crime, solve more cases and bring offenders to justice – all at a much quicker rate than we currently can.”

• A new project to keep police officers and support staff fit and healthy has won support from South Holland Neighbourhood Policing Team.

The project, launched by Chief Constable Bill Skelly on Friday, sees fitness mentors give advice on dietary health and physical activity to the Lincolnshire Police workforce.

Mr Skelly said: “Wellbeing has always been high on my agenda and so I am delighted to be taking this to the next level with the introduction of fitness mentors.

“It is not just about our people; it is about the service we deliver because if we have people who feel good about themselves, they are going to deliver a good service.”

Inspector Gareth Boxall, South Holland neighbourhood policing inspector, said: “The Chief Constable recognises the importance of keeping staff safe and well.

“We look forward to supporting the campaign and enabling our staff to stay fit and healthy.”

Also supporting the project are Lincoln University, YMCA Lincolnshire and Active Lincolnshire whose director Louise O’Reilly said: “We believe it is so important that employers encourage activity as this is where people spend the majority of their time.

“Lincolnshire Police are leading the way in the county in terms of improving opportunities for their staff to be more active and this will form part of our new strategy.”