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January 2021
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Bedfordshire police to learn Polish

On Thursday 26 August officers from Bedfordshire Police will be starting a course to teach them some simple Polish phrases.

The course is being run by the Polish British Integration Centre at the Polish Club on Alexandra Road, Bedford, to help Bedfordshire Neighbourhood Police officers and PSCOs communicate with one of the biggest and growing communities in the town and the county. The first session takes place at 2pm on Thursday 26 August and the course lasts for two hours each week, running over the next 10 weeks.

Inspector Gavin Hughes-Rowland who leads the Bedford North Safer Neighbourhood Teams explains: -Whilst this basic course will only give our teams a basic understanding of Polish it will help to break down some of the barriers with a community that is not always easy for us to engage with. It is important for the Polish community to see us working towards improving communication with them and that we wish to further build up relationships with them.

-It will also mean we can deal with simple matters, like whether someone witnessed an incident, quickly without having to call in a translator and delaying matters.

-Over the next few weeks our Safer Neighbourhood Officers will be attending this course to pick up some basic phrases in Polish which will help them when they attend incidents or receive calls. The sort of phrases we are learning are along the lines of -What is your name? Do you have any injuries? Do you have any friends or family that can speak English? but we also want to be able to ask questions like -How would you prefer to be contacted? and – What are your neighbourhood priorities?

Bedfordshire Police have told GPSJ that the courses will cost around £800 and is funded by the ‘Migrant Impact Fund’

-The Migrant Impact Fund was announced in the February 2008 Green Paper The Path to Citizenship to manage the transitional impacts of migration and to promote innovative ways of managing the pressures on local services caused by legal migration. The fund was allocated on a regional basis through the Government Offices and awarded through the Local Strategic Partnerships.

Bedfordshire Police in conjunction with The Learning Partnership, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council, obtained a grant under the Bedfordshire Migrant Impact Fund Grant (known as SascO) to provide opportunities for migrant residents in Bedfordshire, within police Service Volunteers and Special Constabulary. As a result of that grant, we have also been able to provide specialist migrant language training and fund a Polish national to undertake a formal Translation course to assist in Polish language translation.

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