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Police open up for multicultural teamwork

For a long time, the Police in Stockholm have lacked staff with a non-Nordic background, while youth unemployment has been high in the region. This is the background to the project Spira Stockholm which following experiences from previous projects has invested in training for young people who will be able to obtain a civilian position along with training in diversity for own personnel. Previous efforts to make the Södertälje Police District more diverse provided experience for Spira which has trained young people for civilian positions in the police or in the strategically chosen cooperating parties' activities, in accordance with the project plan.

 

Kia Samrell

Caption: Kia Samrell sees far more open attitudes to diversity in the police after the Spira

"What we really needed was a group that stood outside the labour market within our organisation.  From a language and cultural point of view, they could become an asset to the police," says Kia Samrell, project manager for Spira.

Strong support from management

"From the very start we received a lot of support from our Chief Commissioner, Carin Götblad. Now we can further develop what we have already achieved during the project," says Kia Samrell.

After the introductory training, young people embarked upon 13 months of practical activities with the police authorities. This was not that simple, because the work is very much based on regulations, for example in terms of confidentiality. But during the pre-planning period, coordinators were trained to be able to receive the participants and act as support for the employees. Each participant had a coach during the project period.

"There were also side effects. We presented Spira at seminars and the Armed Forces became interested. At these seminars, it could be seen that we needed to work more with diversity in our recruitment as the conscripts were being replaced by employed personnel.”

"Fine, I said, I have some people that can be recruited. This way we received help in finding 10 government agencies and organisations that could receive our trainees on study visits, and some of them were offered a job," says Kia Samrell.

The syllabus followed the legal chain

This syllabus followed the entire legal chain and the police organisation. The content was also adapted to the needs of the trainees – many of whom had never worked before.

"To them it was an exciting experience, but some people thought that it felt like being back at school.”

Of the 70 participants, 38 remained and are working as civil servants, one of them became the secretary to a chief commissioner. Others have become passport officers and passport officials. The rest of the group have gone to other jobs outside the police. In total, 82 per cent went on to work or study, according to the project follow-up report.

"If we were to do the project again, we would give more responsibility to middle management, but many of them were nevertheless fantastic," says Kia Samrell.

Kia Samrell says that you can see changes in attitudes with regard to diversity and recruitment. The organization shows greater transparency where it often used to see obstacles. It has also been understood that greater diversity is a way to strengthen the police's trademark.

"We are not worried about concluding the Spira project, because we know we will continue to work like this!"