Thames Valley Police has pledged to encourage travellers and gypsies to join them in the force as trainee officers.
As a result of a groundbreaking review published this week, the force plans to launch a ‘targeted’ recruitment campaign for members of the Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) communities.
Officers will also encourage GRT representatives to join police advisory groups in a bid to foster better understanding and relationships.
Compulsory ‘high quality training’ will also be given to all local police staff about how to avoid hate crime and deal with incidents involving travellers.
It will include lessons in speech and dialect, customs, family traditional and accommodation.
And all officers will be given strict warnings that racist language towards travellers, gypsies or Romanies is a punishable breach of standards.
The new policy comes as a result of an independent review, led by expert Professor Margaret Greenfields, into the way in which Thames Valley Police policies impact on the GRT community.
Assistant chief constable Alan Baldwin said: “We acknowledge where cultural and operational changes are needed and we have already begun the process of implementing recommendations in our day to day operation.”
He added: “TVP recognises the national need for change and we will be leading that change.”
Professor Greenfields believes the initiative will bring international acclaim to TVP.
She said: “The Force is seeking to go far beyond tokenism or minimum standards of community engagements.
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