Wednesday 16 May 2012

Police misuse of the English language is “criminal”

The Home Secretary Theresa May, speaking at the Police Federation's annual conference, did so in front of a stage bearing the slogan “Cutting Police by 20% is criminal”. Literally speaking this isn’t true, but of course this is wilful ignorance on my part; it’s a play on a word, though its passive-aggressive tone serves a purpose – to discourage debate.

The Police don’t want to discuss how a 20% cut might be achieved, because their most recent complaints have included how much time they spend doing paperwork. Some of this, they claim, is the result of cuts to back-office administrative staff, presumably to keep up the headline number of the boys and girls in blue.

I share this concern, and as I want to help might I suggest one obvious measure? Since it is cheaper to employ someone trained for admin work in an admin role, we can save money without affecting those on the ‘front line’ by making the highly trained (and expensive) police officer – the one his/her Federation says is stuck at a desk - redundant.


  1. I remember Ms May in those provocative spiky heels, and I'm not even a bloke. Perhaps the English teacher was right.

  2. I came here by mistake. I was looking for an article on the misuse of English by the police. The following set me off: "He was able to discharge his weapon, striking both suspects".
    How abut "He shot them"? Then there was, "His personal weapon." Why not, "His gun"?

    Am I a crank? Well, maybe, but this misuse goes on all the time, and I'm sick of it. It seems they can never use one ordinary word when they can substitute three not-quite-right ones.