Slovaks are training Czech police how to treat Roma

WHILE Slovak police have faced criticism for their treatment of the Roma, especially during several settlement raids, they nonetheless are training their Czech counterparts on how to deal with ethnic minorities, the Pravda daily reported on April 28.

(Source: Sme)

The training courses have been taking place for around a month now, with 76 Czech police officers already participating.

Read also: Roma village alleges police brutality

“We did not only choose Slovakia because there is no language barrier and our relations are traditionally good, but also because the Slovak police have had specialists in dealing with the Roma since 2004. So, you have rich experience,” said Antonín Kreml, deputy director of the Czech riot police, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

At the same time Kreml noted that the Czech police have never launched mass operations among Roma communities like their Slovak counterparts. They are more likely to take action when extremists hold rallies close to Roma settlements.

The work of the Slovak police specialists is mainly focused on prevention and communication. Slovak police officers often explain the difference between criminal acts and misdemeanours to Roma. Further they help them to obtain documents, according to Pavel Fejczo, who heads a team of 49 police specialists in Košice region and has taken part in the training courses.

“They often don’t understand judges’ verdicts,” Fejczo said, as quoted by TASR. “Some are easily manipulated by Roma who are above them in the hierarchy. They often turn to them when they don’t have any money, and that leads to usury.”

When it comes to the Roma the main tasks of the police is to gain their confidence and establish a certain level of authority. This can only be achieved by work in the field, Kreml added. 

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