Victims to Select Own-Faith Officers

July 22, 2009

Author: Catrin Nye

Source: BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8161547.stm

Sikh victims of crime in London are to be given the option of asking for a police officer of their own faith to work on their case.

This new service from the Metropolitan Police (Met) aims to make use of the officers' specialist knowledge of Punjabi culture to help with cases like forced marriage and so-called honour crime.

Officers within the Met have told the BBC Asian Network that crimes in the community have gone unsolved and unreported because of a lack of understanding of the culture by officers from a "white" background.

Palbinder Singh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association (MPSA) said: "It's about understanding and appreciating difference.

"I don't believe a white officer is ever going to be fully conversant with a Sikh for example.

"We have got evidence in the most serious type of crimes where Punjabi culture itself is the issue, that they haven't been properly investigated."