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Romany assistants help Czech police in Brno

Brno, Czech republic, 14.2.2007 9:26, (CTK)

Contacts between the Romany minority and the police have significantly improved since last autumn as the local police use two assistants from the Romany centre Drom, especially for preventative work with Czech Romanies, Brno police chief Jaroslav Vanek said today.

The number of the assistants is to double in the nearest time, Vanek said.

"The barrier that existed between us here has fallen. We hope that the relations with Romanies will be improved even more," Vanek said.

The Romany assistants who help the police have started working in Brno along the lines of Ostrava, North Moravia, and Cheb, West Bohemia, where they have been employed for years.

Vanek said that the assistants' task was not to tip the police about the Romanies' criminal acts. They should focus on prevention and contact with the police in the cases in which Romanies could be victims of crime, he added.

Romanies are used to the communication built on personal relations, the Romany assistants said.

If they know them well, they will trust them more than anonymous police, they added.

The police say that they often do not learn about many crimes against Romanies because the Romany community is closed. Experts say that cases of usury, a very frequent crime among Romanies, often go unpunished.

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