Tag Archives: Immigrant-police

Diversity Issues In Belgium Police Force

Belgium, like many European nations is experiencing an influx of thousands of immigrants. The history of immigration is usually characterized by gaps between newly arrived people and existing power structures such as the police and judiciary systems. The European Union has launched a EUR 600,000 campaign which is aimed at increasing the number of immigrants in police forces on the continent. Despite the campaign, the Belgian police force is only comprised of about 2% of its members who derive from immigrant backgrounds. The latest recruitment of 45 officers and inspectors only has one police officer who is of immigrant descent. However, 20% of those who applied for the police force were of immigrant background.

The most crucial factor in failing to hire more police from immigrant backgrounds remains the language factor. Perhaps, Belgium can learn from the US Army language school in Monterey, California which historically has done an excellent job in developing language skills in a short period of time. Belgium might make use of this approach to handle the problem.

Danish Immigrant Youth Continue Riots

As police officers and fire fighters worked to conatin another night of violence and fires, Denmark’s Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen urged an end to the violence which has ravvaged schools and private property for over a week. “We have to stop saying it’s society’s fault. We need to stress that it’s the responsibility of the young people and their parents.” The protests were sparked by an incident earlier this month in Copenhagen when a police offier allegedly assaulted an elderly Palestinian immigrant. It is now estimated there have been 379 fires and at least 11 schools have been vandalized. Most of the schools were closed for mid-term holidays which undoubedly prevented students from getting hurt.

The police have no clue as to whether there was any organized plot behind the outbreak or was it simply a spontaneous outpouring of anger. Prime Minister Rasmussen places blame on youth and parents and wants young people to focus on education and getting a job. These are worthwhile aims, but, most probably, there is also need to address job opportunity needs of youth and to rethink what is happening in schools. Has Denmark developed programs to ensure the police represent all sectors of society?