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Frontpage News 2009 Countering police discrimination in Poland


Countering police discrimination in Poland

Senior police officers are trained in identifying and combating discriminatory attitudes and practices in the Polish police force.

Concerns over police discrimination prompted the nongovernmental organisation Pro Humanum to apply for funding from the Polish NGO Fund for a project seeking to increase the knowledge and awareness of police officers. Training has so far been delivered to 275 senior police officers through 11 workshops.

The workshops aim to expand the officers' knowledge of laws and regulations, and develop their abilities to identify and counteract discrimination in police structures and actions. The police force is an hierarchical organisation , and senior officers are targeted to ensure that they take the lead in rooting out discriminatory practices and addressing hate speech, xenophobia, and ethnic stereotyping.

Positive step
Warsaw Police Headquarters Deputy Chief Tadeusz Bereda has welcomed the project, saying that raising awareness and identifying discriminatory practices and attitudes within the police ranks is of key importance. The police serve society as a whole and interact with diverse communities, and needs to build confidence and treat people in an equal fashion.

Human rights are taught at the police academies, but no training are delivered on discrimination, xenophobia and hate speech issues. A positive step following the project is the distribution of an anti-discrimination guidebook in police academy units and local police units.

Pro Humanum plans to run similar courses for Polish border guards and journalists.