Police in bid to recruit Polish officers
Police chiefs are in talks with counterparts in Poland that could see officers from the eastern European country brought over to work in Scotland.
Figures emerged last week showing almost one in ten police incidents in Scotland today involves a foreign national, a proportion that has more than doubled in the last five years amid rising migration within the European Union.
Police Scotland deputy chief constable, Iain Livingstone, whose responsibilities cover crime and operational support, has revealed that the force is in dialogue with Polish colleagues to try and stay on top of the trend.
Latest census results from 2011 found that Poland was the most common country of birth of people living in Scotland outside of the UK, with 55,000 Polish-born residents compared to 2,500 a decade earlier.
Asked if the single service had the necessary skills to cope with changes in the communities they are tasked with policing, Livingstone said: “We increasingly have a diverse workforce so we have got a number of police officers in Scotland recruited into both the legacy forces and now Police Scotland who, for example, have Polish ancestry or indeed were born and raised in Poland.
“We are taking some proactive work to link in with colleagues in Warsaw and focusing on Poland because of the number of economic migrants we’ve had from Poland.
“At the moment we’re investigating potentially getting some Polish officers seconded over to work with us in Police Scotland. But in terms of our capability and capacity, I think we do [have the skills].”
Referrals to the pan-European crime agency, Europol, have risen sharply with the creation of a single service. In the year before Police Scotland went live – 2012-13 – referrals numbered 298. Since April 2013, it has risen to more than 1,500.
Scotland has had a Liaison Officer at Europol since 2006, previously through the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) but now Police Scotland.