High profile workshop ‘Police – Ethnic minorities’

14.-15.01.2014 in Budapest, Hungary

The two-day international workshop ‘Police – Ethnic minorities’ was opened by Professor Joachim Kersten, the coordinator of the project and Andrea Kozáry, the leader of the WP3. Both welcomed the guests participating in the event. Then three representatives of the participating countries – Gábor Héra from Hungary, Catharina Decker from Germany and Elisabeth Frankus from Austria – held their presentations on last year’s progress. Altogether 300 interviews were conducted with police officers and members of ethnic minorities (Romas, Turks, Sub-Sahara Africans), the transcription, processing, and comparative analysis of the texts is currently in progress. The first day’s keynote speaker was Dr. Joanna Goodey Head of Freedoms and Justice Department European Union Agency the Fundamental Rights, who presented their latest research, results, and publications. The three other presenters of the day (Gabriella Benedek, Foresee; Nick Seymour, Transparency International; Erik Uszkiewicz, ELTE) covered the topic of the conference with theoretical and practical examples. They spoke about community policing, the already accomplished and in progress police reform, corruption, and one mediation example which took place in Kakucs, in a small Hungarian village. The evening concluded at Romani Platni a Roma community house situated in the 9th district of Budapest with authentic Roma music, food, and a short introduction about the history and life of the community.

On the second day of the workshop the keynote speaker was Professor Mike Hough from the University of London who reviewed his research on the police from a procedural justice perspective. Michaela Strapatsas, a professional mediator and Franz Brandstätter Police Chief Inspector from Graz, Gerhard Haberler from the Austrian Ministry of Interior, Branko Lobnikar from the University of Ljubljana, János Wagner from Partners Hungary introduced their countries’ best practices. On the roundtable Hungarian and foreign university professors, social scientists, sociologists, jurisprudents, professional police officers were present. (It is worth mentioning Sándor Mergancz, brigadier general, former chief of Somogy County Police Hungary, Thomas Köber, Chief of Mannheim Police, and Lars Neumann, Chief Superintendent of Berlin Police were present). The participants shared their personal experiences and emphasized the importance of forging a community as a first step, and appropriate communication and mediation as a best practice in ameliorating police – minority relations.

In the closing remarks Joachim Kersten and Andrea Kozáry summarized the two-days meeting and expressed their conviction that it contributed to the spread of mediational and restorative justice practices which are the key aims of the COREPOL project.

Presentations of the High profile workshop: