Police officers in Northamptonshire will be learning Polish and other Eastern European languages as part of a new cultural awareness training programme.
Northamptonshire Police has joined forces with The Association of Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools (ANSS) to provide frontline officers with access to short language courses to give officers some basic phrases in different languages.
The training also covers a variety of subjects such as how to engage with people from different cultures, facts about the major faiths, festivals and local places of worship and face-to-face sessions with people from a range of communities.
PC Nick Stephens and DC Rachel Packman, Community Engagement Officers, assisted in organising the training sessions.
PC Stephens said: “We want to make sure all the communities in our county are safe. Northamptonshire is a very diverse county and officers need to be aware of different cultures and practices - this training will help officers break down barriers and build trust and confidence. “The input from ANSS further increases their awareness and understanding and make them even more effective on the streets dealing with people and incidents”.
DC Rachel Packman said: “Following on from these sessions, we are helping to organise some short language courses to give officers some basic grounding in languages they can use in their everyday patrol work. Polish and other Eastern European languages are expected to be popular with officers as these communities have grown significantly in the county over the past number of years.”
Alaa Abouzanad, Chair of ANSS said: “We welcome working more closely with the police. Developing this type of collaborative training will not only assist frontline officers but also improve community cohesion. Officers will have a greater understanding of different communities, cultures and faiths thereby improving their service to the public. In turn, the public will have greater confidence in the police.”
Two ANSS staff members, Nikki Taylor and Ute Nannini, are providing training for an initial batch of 50 frontline officers.
Members of the Northampton Muslim Police Association will also talk to officers about aspects of their faith and policing tips for the period of Ramadan.
Ute Nannini said: “Officers have been enthusiastic about learning and our emphasis has always been to assist officers in practical ways. Having information about migration, cultural and religious differences all makes officers more knowledgeable and in turn more effective.”