UK: multilingual police

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Jun 13 14:22:11 UTC 2007

Multilingual UK police

June 12, 2007 at 6:36 am ยท

The UK has a new multi lingual police force.  The policy in the UK is
now to deploy numerous police with a variety of languages. Their
forces, particularly in London and other major cities, speak 14
languages, including Polish, Czech, Lithuanian and British Sign
Language. I personally know English police that have come to study in
Poland.  This is in response to the demographic changes. It has very
little to do with political correctness, rather its more about money.
Having to pay for translations and translators not only does not make
good political sense, but economic sense, as the cost of translation
is high; further, language misunderstandings can cause problems.

It is interesting the Police that I have seen come to Poland, learn
Polish fairly well. They come here and are very nice, but like police
are non-nonsense and rarely talk about learning Polish but just sit in
a corner and study.  Me, I am all fluff.  I will talk about learning,
Polish think about learning Polish, and then study for an hour. If the
cop on the street can respond to a call in the language of the people,
then all the better What if there is a call for help and no one
understand Polish.  Now The British police are hiring native Polish
speakers as well as many police learning Polish, for example on there
own. The Polish population in the UK is exceptionally law abiding, as
they are there just to work and police involvement is connected to
more civil and community work.

A British police spokeswomen said, "The main function of the support
officers will be to help residents and visitors to Cambridge shire,
who are non-English speaking, to access police services, and
communicate effectively with police officers and staff."  It can be
very difficult for deaf people, or even Polish speakers to communicate
with officers and report crime. "Having officers who can assist in
this way is a real positive step forward."The full scope of languages
the officers cover are: Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Portuguese,
Spanish, Latvian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Ukrainian,
Urdu, Punjabi and British Sign Language.

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