British delegation visits Roma settlement in Jarovnice

jarovnice

In July 2015 delegates of the GRTPA, including Director Kate West who was then GRTPA Secretary, visited Roma settlements in Jarovnice and Kosice.  The purpose of the GRTPA’s visit was to seek solutions to issues plaguing Roma living both in Slovakia and in the UK.

One of the guests was also ethnic Czech Peter Torák, decorated with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, who, aside from being a police officer in the UK, also serves as vice-president of the international police organisation GRTPA that provides assistance to Roma employed on the force.

Before visiting Jarovnice, Torák also spoke with Prešov Regional Police Director Dušan Sabol and discussed not only the issue of Roma police officers but also the process of working with Roma and challenges faced in the interaction with this community by Slovaks and Brits.

In Jarovnice, Torák spoke with police officers as well as inhabitants of the settlement. There are five ethnic Roma specialists assigned to the settlement who carry out the role of the so-called ‘good policemen’. Among their job description is to tackle issues of the day, take care of paperwork and mediate communication with Roma community, TASR wrote.

There are 65 such specialists in Prešov Region, one of them also being an ethnic Roma woman.

“Some communities condemn their people, who join the police force with an ambition to change something for the better in their settlement, whereas others accept them,” Branislav Vojdula, an officer in charge of the specialists, as quoted by TASR. “The interaction with this community certainly comes easier for a Roma.”

The state of affairs is different in the UK, where the Police Corps engage in closer cooperation with social authorities, towns and health care, Vojdula added.

“They have regular meetings, where problems of families and even individual members of the community are addressed,” he said.

Taken from The Slovac Spectator

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