The PSNI police may be able to meet the Patten requirements for increased numbers of Catholic recruits by drawing from the nearly 1,000 Polish people who have applied to join the force.
The huge number of applications from Poland comes amid growing evidence that relatively few northern nationalists are applying for positions with the predominately Protestant force.
In the most recent round of applications for the PSNI, which ended last November, 968 Polish men and women put their names forward.
It is not known how many were successful as trainee officers are listed only as either Catholic or Protestant. More than 95 per cent of Poland’s population is Catholic.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “We very much welcome the applicants for this competition and in particular the applications from minority ethnic communities.
“The large number of applications is indicative of how many people see the PSNI as a career choice.”
Katrina Kordula, of the Polish Welfare Association in Derry, welcomed the news as evidence of migrant workers’ increased integration into society.
“We think this is a great initiative because it breaks down the cultural barriers within the service,” she said.
“The PSNI is now on its way to becoming multi-cultural and this is another step towards integration in the community.”