A press conference at the British Embassy in Budapest this Tuesday announced the launch of the latest project 'Roma law enforcement community tour' supported by the Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers aimed at the involvement of Roma youth in law enforcement in Hungary.
A law enforcement forum series has been launched in Hungary aimed at the inclusion of youth living in disadvantaged areas, especially Roma youth, in police work, as well as at the strengthening of trust between police and Roma communities.
The program was presented by Brigadier General József Boda. He said that with the recruitment, they wish to increase number of Roma serving in the police force, which could also increase the trust of the gypsies in law enforcement.
In order to achieve that, a six-member team of police officers (most of them Roma themselves) will hold community forums to kids aged 9-14 years as well as grown-ups and talk about career opportunities in the country's 12 disadvantaged. The initiative enjoys the support of local governments. The team is looking for volunteers whose data would be registered in a database of people who may be suitable for law enforcement work.
Police Major György Makula, the President of the Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers (FAERLEO), which is to play an active role in the implementation of these community forums, added that they would also wish to include in the database youngsters who would be suitable for other public service duties. The first such forum will be held in a village in north-eastern Hungary with the participation of the British Ambassador. Major Makula, himself a member of the six-strong team, also called for the establishment of grants to encourage the participation of Roma youth in the program.
On behalf of the host, the British Embassy, Deputy Head of Mission Theresa Bubbear said that in Britain, diversity within the police has long been encouraged, the employment of those belonging to minorities is supported.
United States Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis stressed that his country is committed to promoting the social integration of the Roma, not only in Hungary but also in other European countries. The American government cooperates with a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations to promote social tolerance and step up against prejudices.
Norway's ambassador in Budapest, Tove Skarstein, pointed out that confidence in the police force is important from the point of view the majority and the minorities, as well. He stressed the importance of the participation of the Roma themselves in all the effort of their social inclusion. She said that in the coming years, there will be opportunities to apply for programs from the European Economic Area and Norway Grants worth a total of HUF 40 billion (appr. EUR 135 million) to help the most vulnerable people.
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