On 10-13 May 2011 the Cyprus Police Academy hosted CEPOL course “58/2011 - Management of Diversity'. The event took place in Nicosia and benefited from the support of Poland and Austria as well as contributions from Cypriot experts.
Seventeen representatives from 14 EU Member States and three representatives from associated country Norway, attended the course. Most of the participants were experts in the management of diversity field and deal with such cases on a daily basis. It must be pointed out that despite the fact that experts came from EU Member States, the course focused on international aspects of tackling the problem.
Chief Superintendent Zacharias Chrysostomou, director of the Cyprus Police Academy, welcomed the participants and gave them information on how the Cypriot police is trying to promote issues related to managing diversity and stressed the benefits of diversity.
CEPOL Director, Ferenc Banfi, added during the opening session that 'It is without a doubt that a new society needs new police, and a new approach to managing diversity. It is not enough, in fact, to rely on 'traditional' intercultural competence training - defined as the ability to successfully communicate with persons of other cultures, as this is still very much focused on differences between groups; it has even been defined, not uncontroversially, as a “zoological approach to diversity”. It is perhaps good to recall, in this context, that we always use our own beliefs systems as a filter, even when we do this with our best intentions. This is why without a combination of at least three elements - self-awareness, skills building and cultural knowledge - a training program will not be effective. I would like to leave you with this reflection, it is indeed in the very spirit of CEPOL to bring together the different experiences of European Union Police Forces, to grow together through our training activities. I am confident that this will indeed be a fruitful activity.”
The overall aim of the course was to enhance the integration of diversity issues into police management. The participants had the opportunity during the initial stages of the course to:
- Compare and contrast police approaches and policies among Member States.
- Identify, analyse and cope with risks, dilemmas, challenges and advantages of managing diversity within and outside the police
- Understand and reflect on the professional duty and the key role of the police in managing diversity
- Recognise, understand and accept differences and approach them with an open mind
- Understand and reflect on professional duty and roles in managing diversity
- Establish an ongoing network with other colleagues on the course.
The course was beneficial to both the experts and the participants, as everybody had the opportunity to work in a multicultural environment and exchange ideas about practices and methods that could be of use in dealing with diversity cases. Each participant’s expertise and competence contributed positively to fulfilling the above mentioned objectives.
Participants also had the opportunity to identify diverse issues within European Police methods. The course was organised in an effort to enable the participants to exchange experiences, to discuss and identify possible common standards that could be adopted by all Member States in order to prevent this social phenomenon.
The Chief of Cyprus Police, Michael Papageorgiou in his closing speech said: 'I am certain that the useful information and knowledge gained on managing diversity over the past four days will be used by you and will be disseminated to your colleagues. As regards Cyprus Police we assure you that the knowledge acquired will be put into force, and that we are ready to become involved in similar CEPOL activities, as well as to promote further cooperation with other Member States in the field of discrimination, diversity and human rights'.