Sprachausbildung für die Polizei

1,000 Euro Prize 2010

Country: Austria

Region: Vienna

Sector: Public administration

Fields of action: Migration, Adult education

Project owner: Bundesministerium für Inneres, Sicherheitsakademie

Responsible person: Thomas GREIS

Website: Weblink

What is it about?
The Austrian police training institution, the Sicherheitsakademie, in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, with its ‘Advanced Training Centre’ is responsible for the further training of all of the approximately 30,000 police officers in Austria. The academy has been implementing a new approach to language training since 2006, intercultural skills have been part of the training and advanced training courses since 2009. The police’s ability to deal with foreigners in a competent manner must be increased, because of the work they do in border regions and the increasing mobility and multilingualism of the population. 13 languages are currently offered, ranging from Slovenian to Romanian; Turkish and Polish will be added by the final stage in 2012. There are separate courses for those who have grown up bilingually. The language training is designed for 5-600 police officers per year. As of 2010, the aim is to be able to quickly commandeer all ‘employees who are proficient in foreign languages’ via a directory on the intranet, where necessary.
Appreciation of the Jury
This project finally recognises the importance of linguistic and intercultural competence for sensitive and successful action by police officers – true to their motto: “Understanding one another through having an understanding of one another.” And, in addition to learning the language, the project is in particular also concerned with changing police officers’ own attitudes toward foreigner(s), with initiating reflection processes. Other countries have already expressed an interest … Let’s hope that a respectful police presence will change the image of the police in all of our minds, our own minds and those of foreigners!