Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015


According to Charles Darwin`s theory as I understand it diversity and ability to exploit and reproduce advantages granted by mutation are necessary for survival.  I suppose in my simplistic thinking process the years since the big crash and subsequent years of austerity such analogies could also be applied to institutions.  The Metropolitan Police Service is as good an example as any.   In 2010 in an effort to retain officer numbers yet cope with the early funding cuts imposed by the previous government the Met limited its recruitment of new constables to those who had served as unpaid volunteer special constables for at least one year previously.  I have been unable to source when this policy was ended.  It seems a penchant for those with all those badges and braid on their caps and blue uniforms is to dream up more new schemes to make more headlines than they make sense.  

The Met yesterday announced that for a trial period of a month all new aspiring recruits must be able to speak a second language other than English.  The obvious caveat to this policy is a would be recruit without such language skills will postpone any application until this trial period has run its course.  After all anybody making a career choice to become a police officer can hold off for a month. However if this nonsensical policy is to be taken seriously {remember when every doctor`s or dentist`s waiting room or town hall  had leaflets in umpteen languages until some wise old owl of a civil servant realised that doing this did nothing to encourage the use of English by immigrants} one would have thought that the required ability to converse in a foreign tongue would be applied to those which would most often be encountered on the streets of London.  One would have thought wrongly.  Indeed the languages required are:-

• Yoruba (Nigeria)
• Hebrew
• Arabic
• Hindi
• Punjabi
• Italian
• German
• Turkish
• Greek
• Spanish
• Polish
• Portuguese
• Sinhali (Sri Lanka)
• Bengali 

Hebrew is the language only of prayer for many Jews worldwide  and native Israelis of whom only about 10,000 are thought to live in London.  The Jewish enclaves in London where over 200,000 people live are populated 90% by native British born people so the Met Commissioner can`t be thinking of having multi lingual bobbies in Golders Green.  In Hackney or Stoke Newington where the Jewish residents are mainly of the black coat Chassidic variety Yiddish is the spoken language. Although written in Hebrew characters it is a Germanic/Polish tongue so that a Hebrew speaking recruit would be wasting his/her skills.  Perhaps he thinks that he should not recruit Arabic speakers without offering the quid pro quo to the other side.  But he is seeking Sinhali  and not Tamil speakers where refugees from a most recent and vicious civil war are still at odds.  And for Cypriots of that ethnically divided island he is recruiting Greek and Turkish speakers so no favouritism there. German is on the list I have rarely met here or abroad a native of Germany or Austria who was unable to speak English almost fluently. Perhaps the Met knows something the rest of us are ignorant about.  With the influx of immigration from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania where Russia is a second language there is no inclusion of any of these four languages.  And Romanian and Bulgarian are also excluded when Spanish is on the list.  Gujarati is omitted whilst Hindi and Punjabi are included........bizarre!

This policy will be as short lived as the above mentioned "be a special first" policy.  It will wither without a whimper. No worries for the Met.  It`s PR department can soon persuade more hard up TV production companies to put together a few more hours cheap reality TV to tell us how wonderful they are.  

1 comment:

  1. Please do not impose Russian on native Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian speakers. Please!