Polish, UK policemen cooperate

Two Polish police officers will help London police work on crime issues related to the growing immigrant-Polish community in the British capital.Officers Pawel Wojtunik and Konrad Byczek of the national police in Warsaw will be in London six months.Detective Superintendent Jonathan Tottman of the London Metropolitan Police took the initiative to bring them to London.

After Poland’s National Police Office agreed to the officers’ visit, Tottman visited Warsaw in May to meet them.Tottman is head of policing in Lambeth South, a district with a mixed international community. When he noticed the burgeoning immigrant-Polish population in his district, he decided to take a number of steps to better serve them. The Warsaw officers’ visit is one.British immigration officials estimate that 40 percent of all Poles and other Eastern European immigrants coming to Britain settle in London.Wojtunik and Byczek will work with the Polish community to give London police a better understanding of what kinds of crimes are affecting the immigrants. They will also help London police try to solve crimes involving immigrants, according to the Polish Express, the biggest Polish-language weekly in the UK.The officers may also help police in other cities with sizable Polish communities, the newspaper said.

Captain Sabastian Serwiak of the National Police in Warsaw has been helping national police in Northern Ireland with crimes affecting Polish immigrants.Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde took the initiative to bring Serwiak to Belfast.

He has been there since February 7.Serwiak helps local police with cases involving Polish immigrants. He also meets monthly with leaders of the Polish community. And he visits schools to speak to immigrant children.When a fire broke out at the home of Polish immigrants in North Belfast, Serwiak stepped in to help, including serving as a liaison between the immigrants and their relatives in Poland.

London police hope to hire ethnic-Polish officers in the next few years. An obstacle to bringing them on now is a requirement that an immigrant must have lived in Britain three years before he is eligible for a police job. The requirement has its down side, but it allows police to “check the credibility of the person who wants to join us,” said Kasia Kaldowski, a working at the national police headquarters, known as Scotland Yard.

Police have thought about changing the requirement but Kaldowski doesn’t think that will come anytime soon.Polish police say working with police in the UK has given them a new perspective on the job. They have noticed, for example, that British police react much quicker to problems that surface – such as crime among new immigrant groups – than police in Poland.

Britain has a well-developed police system, Polish police say. In Poland, it’s not so much a system as it is individual officers trying to do what’s right. Poland needs a more organized, systematic approach, is the officers’ implication.In UK police works as a system, in Poland all what we have is human potential and lot of good wishes, and efforts.

Due to these we can compensate existing gaps.The Polish community in particular is growing rapidly in UK. The appointment of Polish officers is only one of a number of suggestions under consideration.

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