POLISH police officers have been flown in to join Scotland’s national force as part of a bid to cut crime among migrants.
Two officers have been seconded for six months as part of a pilot scheme that could be expanded in the future.
Senior officers at Police Scotland say the pair have already helped on crucial inquiries involving Poles as perpetrators, victims or witnesses of crimes.
And there are now calls for Scots officers to be sent to Poland as part of a similar scheme.
Last year it emerged that nine per cent of all police incidents in Scotland involve a foreign national – a figure thought to have more than doubled since mass EU migration began a decade ago.
According to the last census, around seven per cent of the Scottish population was born outside of the UK.
However, dealing with foreign nationals who come into contact with the police, whether as suspects or victims, poses serious challenges to the force.
The Polish officers bring a whole different set of skills, including familiarity with procedures in Poland.
Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: “They are here to advise us and to help us on criminal and other inquiries.
“They don’t have the power to arrest anybody or question anybody so they are always with Scottish officers.”
The two officers, who have not been named, are based at Police Scotland’s Crime Campus in Gartcosh, near Glasgow, but have been used across the country.
They are paid their usual Polish salary and then an allowance by Police Scotland to ensure they can cope with the higher cost of living here.
Mr Main said Police Scotland would review the success of the current secondment at the end of the summer to see whether it could be expanded.
Maciej Dokurno of Fife Migrant Forum said: “I don’t think the Polish community would particularly want to see Polish officers patrol Scottish streets, but they would welcome their help in training officers here and provide valuable contacts in helping with issues like missing persons.
“There are lots of cases when somebody goes missing from Scotland or Poland and turns up in the other country.”
Mr Dokurno also suggested Scottish officers should be seconded to forces in Poland, to help raise their knowledge of migrant communities.
Last year, a 24-year-old Polish national murdered an Edinburgh pensioner by stabbing her in the neck seven times with a pair of scissors.
Robert Buczek was found guilty of the “revolting crime” by a unanimous jury, and was sentenced to at least 20 years in jail.
It emerged during the trial that Mr Buczek had a previous conviction for assaulting and robbing another pensioner in Poland when he was only 14.