POLICE COP RAP ON WELSH LANGUAGE
‘Nuisance’ claims are dismissed
A POLICE sergeant says some colleagues consider officers who choose to speak Welsh “a nuisance” and that officers who use the language fear it will damage their chances of promotion.
Trystan Bevan says he was told English is the “chosen language” of the North Wales force, and that he had been urged not to use Welsh in a recent promotion application. He says he had to point out it is illegal to stop him using his native language for the forms, which have now been translated into Welsh.
Writing in the Your Voice Police Federation Newsletter, the roads policing officer based at Llandygai, near Bangor, said that Chief Constable Mark Polin and Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones were supportive of officers who wish to use Welsh during the course of their work, but that others are less so.
Sgt Bevan wrote: “It is a pity that other individuals within the organisation see the language and those who wish to work through the language as causing problems and a nuisance.
“It breaks my heart that there are workers within the organisation who are not aware of the rights of the Welsh or of their responsibility as workers to meet the needs of Welsh people.”
Sgt Bevan said he has spoken to several officers who have found themselves in the same situation, and some admitted they didn’t want to be seen as causing a row. The Police Federation representative said colleagues who feel they are being discriminated against because they use Welsh should contact him.
He added: “The right to correspond, write and receive correspondence through Welsh in the Force is a legal right and no-one should feel that by doing so their chances of promotion would be impaired. It is a right not a privilege.”
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki, who chairs the Force’s Welsh Language Group, said he was “disappointed by these comments”, adding: “We work hard to be a bilingual organisation, with Welsh in the workplace being actively encouraged and promoted.
“Just last week we held a seminar for Welsh language champions to look at ways in which we can develop the use of Welsh at all levels force wide. Welsh is widely spoken within the force, we offer regular Welsh language training and there are many visible reminders encouraging people to use Welsh at work around our buildings.
“Anyone thinking of joining North Wales Police has the opportunity to make their application, and be interviewed, in Welsh. Once they are part of the organisation they will be fully supported and actively encouraged to use Welsh.
“The importance of having bilingual training material is also fully recognised and we make every effort to ensure that interviews or tests are available in Welsh.”
● CRITICAL: Sgt Trystan Bevan