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Vienna pushing for fairer police force with cadets from migrant backgrounds

Vienna pushing for fairer police force with cadets from migrant backgrounds

The local police department sees this as an opportunity to increase the tactical effectiveness of law enforcement

Yesterday, Vienna launched a new campaign called ‘Vienna wants you!’ with the aim of recruiting people from a migrant background to the city’s police department. The Vienna police and the Department of Integration have been working together on increasing diversity within the police force since 2007.

The reasoning behind the idea is that policing minority communities can be more effective when representatives of the community head the operations and assist with unique cultural insight and understanding.

This is not a diversity quota, it is efficient police work

The Vienna police are currently looking for around 600 people with some kind of migrant background to help police the nearly 660,000 people of non-Austrian origin living in the city. The applicants’ country of birth will not be a deciding factor, as long as they currently have Austrian citizenship.

Furthermore, the police will test physical aptitude, German language proficiency and math skills during the admissions process. After it is complete, candidates will go through a two-year police training programme.

Christoph Wiederkehr, Vice Mayor and City Councillor for Integration explained that policemen with diverse backgrounds are instrumental to the successful coexistence in the city. According to him, they are invaluable to the force, because they have different experiences of the city and they can contribute with diverse language skills.

Colonel Michael Holzgruber, City Police Commander of Floridsdorf was quoted in a press release, saying: “All population groups should find themselves in a police force that is as diverse as possible. Executives benefit from the mutual exchange of experiences and getting to know one another's different cultures.

In addition to the personal benefit, the possible tactical advantages should be emphasized: In the case of crime observations or surveys, in the targeted crime prevention in certain areas of the city, in the networking through the department for minority contacts.”

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