A new recruitment drive for Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian speakers to join the police has been welcomed by community groups in Spalding.
Lincolnshire Police launched its appeal for people fluent in English and an eastern European language to become part of its staff in an effort to improve the way it serves South Holland’s increasingly diverse population.
The recruitment campaign is one of the aspects of a new strategic plan for the force called “Distinctively Lincolnshire” which found that one-in- eight of the South Holland and Boston community were from a “minority ethnic group”.
Gunita Sele, a qualified solicitor from Latvia who emigrated to Spalding six years ago and is now a member of the Magistrates Association, said: “It’s great news and I’m pleased to see that Lincolnshire Police has started to highlight what its needs are.
“It’s normal when a country starts to take in a large amount of immigrants from other countries and cultures that there’ll be a changing social situation as well, including crime.
“The law alone can’t legislate for this and so public authorities must have innovative ideas to respond to such a change.
“Members of the eastern European community aren’t passive and they will give their support for activities like the new recruitment campaign by Lincolnshire Police which is great news and an excellent step forward.”
A parliamentary report published in May 2016 showed that just 5.5 per cent of police officers in England and Wales were from a black and ethnic minority background, compared to 14 per cent of the population.
A spokesman for the Polish Help Centre in Spalding said: “It’s a good idea because there are a lot of different nationalities living here and not all of them speak English.
“If the police could communicate in their native language, it would help them solve more crimes.”
• The police recruitment campaign follows a church-led project, launched last summer, to promote greater intergration in Spalding.
Community Connectors, funded by the Bishop of Lincoln’s Social Fund, included “full English” sessions at The Vista during the summer.
The Vicar of Spalding, the Reverend John Bennett, said: “The recruitment campaign is a very welcome initiative and it should especially appeal over the next few years 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.”