Sikh victims of crime in London can ask for own faith officer | india | Hindustan Times
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Sikh victims of crime in London can ask for own faith officer

india Updated: Jul 24, 2009 17:48 IST

With an aim to use knowledge of Punjabi culture to solve cases, the Metropolitan police has planned a special service for Sikh victims of crime in London, who can ask for an officer of their own faith to work on their matter.

Under the new scheme the ‘specialist´ knowledge of the Punjabi culture will be used to handle cases like forced marriage and ‘honour´ crime.

The Met said “the new service, pioneered by the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association (MPSA), could be extended to other minority groups like Muslims in future”.

Chairman of the MPSA Palbinder Singh, said, “It’s about understanding and appreciating difference. I don’t believe a white officer is ever going to be fully conversant with a Sikh for example”.

“We have got evidence in the most serious type of crimes where Punjabi culture itself is the issue, that they haven’t been properly investigated.”

Jagdeesh Singh, whose 27-year-old sister Surjit Athwal was murdered in a so-called honour killing, supported the scheme. In 2007 Athwal’s husband and mother-in-law were convicted of her murder, almost 10 years after she went missing from home.

Met officers said crimes in the community have gone unsolved and even unreported because of lack of understanding of the culture by officers from a “white” background.