Toward a more multicultural police force?

More Police with Foreign Background

The Swedish Police’s attempts to recruit a more multicultural force have reached a breakthrough, news bureau TT reports. A full 27 percent of those beginning in the police academy this January were born outside of Sweden or have at least one parent who was. That is a huge leap compared to the country’s current police force, of which only 6.7 percent have a foreign background.

All in all, 19 percent of people living in Sweden have a foreign-born parent or were themselves born abroad.

According to Statistics Sweden, fewest foreign born employees can be found in the military, the fire service and air traffic control.

In a comment to the trend among police recruits, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask says that there are definite advantages when the police force mirrors the multicultural reality.

"We need people with all possible perspectives so that we can serve the whole population. It is easier to build up trust in someone whom one can identify with," she told TT.

The police have several ongoing projects with the clear purpose of boosting the police's multicultural profile. In the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, people with foreign backgrounds have been employed as part of the police apparatus in order to encourage them to apply to the police academy later.

Jan Karlsen, head of the Swedish Police Union, told TT that they can't let up in the process if they really want a more multicultural force.

"The situation can be changed. It's important not to rest, but to keep working continuously with this issue."

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