PSNI targets Indian community for recruitment


Members of Northern Ireland's Indian community were today being urged to join the police as part of a recruitment drive during a Bank Holiday celebration of their culture.

Organisers of the one day Mela Festival in Belfast's Botanic Gardens were today offering the best in Bollywood and Bhangra music and dance, cuisine from India and other parts of the world, fashion, visual art and children's games and activities.

But following unacceptably high levels of racial violence against ethnic minorities, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and members of the Ethnic Minorities Police Association were attempting at the festival to persuade members of the Indian community to join them in the fight against all crime.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton, who was attending today's event with Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, explained: "The Mela is now one of the multicultural highlights of the Bank Holiday weekend in Belfast, thanks to the hard work and endeavour of the Indian community in the city and beyond.

"The Indian community plays an active and productive part in the life of the Northern Ireland community.

"Police have good working relations with the Indian community and we are determined to build on these.

"We have a recruitment stand as part of our exhibition at the Mela and will be working hard to encourage members of the Indian community to consider policing as a worthwhile career opportunity."

In recent years, Belfast has acquired a grim reputation in the wake of the Troubles for racial intolerance and violence. German magazine Der Spiegel dubbed the city the race hate capital of the world after attacks on a wide range of ethnic groups who have settled in the city including the Bangladeshi, Chinese, Pakistani, Filipino and Ugandan communities.

In January, PSNI crime figures revealed there were 450 racist attacks during April and December last year - a rise of 150.