UK: Roma police officer receives MBE from Queen Elizabeth II
Petr Torák, a Romani émigré from the Czech Republic who serves with the British police, will be receiving an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Queen Elizabeth II will present him with the high civilian honor next month for his service to the Romani community.
In May 1999, Torák emigrated with his parents from Liberec to Great Britian after he and his mother were attacked by neo-Nazis. He had been attending a private legal academy in the Czech Republic and intended to continue his studies.
Torák applied to a college and to the Police Academy in the Czech Republic. He was accepted to the college and was halfway through the entrance examinations for the Police Academy when neo-Nazis beat up his mother and then beat him up as well.
After emigrating to England, Torák worked in a McDonald's and then in the agricultural production of roses. By performing various kinds of manual labor, he made it to a customer service position.
Torák then worked at a local council, after which he joined the police. He first worked with the municipal police and today wears a uniform in the English town of Peterborough, 120 kilometers north of London.
Besides working on ordinary criminal cases, Torák frequently aids his British colleagues in communicating with members of the Romani community. His fluency in five languages is useful, as is his knowledge of various people's mindsets and his personal contacts among those who have come to Peterborough from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, among other places.
When he is not working, Torák participates in many projects aiding people from the Romani community. In 2013 he co-founded the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association together with other officers.
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