Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, said that the campaign, which he announced on Monday in Nuremberg, was aimed at improving the success rate of solving crimes in his police force, the Münchener Merkur reports.
Experience shows that migrants in the police force offer “a direct line” to migrant communities because they speak the same languages and have a better understanding of people’s mentalities, said Herrmann.
“I’m optimistic that in this way we can improve our ability to solve crimes and reduce conflict,” he added.
Herrmann also emphasised that failures in investigating a series of murders of migrants carried out by the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi terror cell, had motivated him to start the campaign.
The police had lacked “sensitivity” in how they had treated victims’ families, he said.
“We have come to realize that it would be no bad thing if we had more foreign colleagues. But it is something we have been planning for a long time.”
Bavaria does not record how many police officers in its force are Germans with a migrant background, but in 23 years it has employed 159 officers who do not possess German passports.
These officers came from 19 different countries, with the largest number having Turkish citizenship.
The Bavarian police’s new campaign emphasises the fact that new recruits do not need German citizenship to apply.
Hermann Benker of the German Police Union told the Merkur that he supported Bavaria’s effort to recruit more migrants.
He warned however that the standards for entry were very tough, with 40 percent of applicants having Abiturs, a high school qualification only given to students who make it into the top tier of Germany’s demanding high school system.
The required standards would not be dropped just because someone did not have a German passport, he said.