Plain English pledge after 'horrible' police memo savaged

By Kevin Unitt Wednesday 20 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 10:32

WARWICKSHIRE Police commissioner Ron Ball has pledged plain English from the force in future after a jargon-filled memo was savaged.

The 'Enabling Services Directorate', a four-page internal management mission statement, talked of 'protecting people from harm’ with a range of ‘outcome focused’ functions that ‘are professionally competent and understand the operational policing context of their services, ensuring that they are quality assured, effective and efficient’.

It was so filled with jargon the force has been nominated for a 'Golden Bull' award, run by the Plain English Campaign.

Spokesman Chrissie Maher told a national paper: “It’s absolute rubbish as far as I am concerned. It’s a screen to hide behind. It just makes me think "what are they up to?"’

“How can I make informed decisions if they do not talk to me in plain English? Gobbledegook gives me no choice. Most of us do not use words like that.

“I’m not asking for ‘the cat sat on the mat’ but all familiar words seem to have been sieved out and all you are left with is a horrible mess. I can’t understand any of it.”

In response, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Ball, released a statement on Tuesday (February 19) which pledged an improvement in communication from the force.

He said: "I'm just in the process of agreeing targets for Warwickshire Police force and winning a Golden Bull award won't be one of them. In England we have the benefit of speaking a language that should be clear, precise and concise. I want all of our communications - both internal and external - to conform to those principles.

"The point that I would challenge in the criticism of this internal document is that the language has been chosen to hide things.

"Warwickshire Police has a good story to tell and it should be told in simple, straightforward English that the public and our staff understand. To the Plain English Society who have felt our collar on this I'd say 'It's a fair cop. We'll come quietly and mend our ways'."

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