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Metropolitan Police ask new recruits have one of 14 specified second languages

PUBLISHED: 17:08 20 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:16 20 July 2015

The new pilot scheme wants Met recruits to have a second language

The new pilot scheme wants Met recruits to have a second language

Archant

The Metropolitan Police have today introduced a new pilot scheme which requires new recruits to be able to speak and understand second languages.

Social media reaction

Lynsey Marie Gray: “I don’t see what the big deal is. If I go to Spain, France, Italy, etc I would hope their police spoke English so what’s the difference with people coming here and the English speaking their language?”

Robyn Padmé: “They are police officers, not translators.”

Hayley Fell: “They’re simply adapting to the multicultural environment which we live in and it could be very helpful in certain situations”.

Raymond Preedy: “I disagree completely. Police should do what they are trained to do. They have enough on their plate already.”

Kim Donegan: “Anyone who can speak another language will be an asset, however, if you live in an English speaking country you should be able to communicate in English.”

The month-long programme will give priority to applicants who can speak one of 14 languages which have a high prevalence in the capital including Arabic, Italian, Hebrew and Punjabi.

One young hopeful who is feeling the burn of the new criteria said: “I have dreamed of training at Hendon for years and now I feel like my aspirations have been stamped on.”

The recruit has been undergoing the rigorous Met selection process for months, having completed a number of online applications and two assessment days, including a fitness test.

He said: “I’ve worked really hard and joining the police is the dream job for me and now I don’t feel like I stand a chance.

“They emailed me this morning to tell me about how people with second languages will get priority and that they’ll be in touch with me in October but that doesn’t mean anything to me.

“I am really disappointed.”

Recorder reader, Megan Fredrica Appleby, wrote on Facebook: “My husband has passed all stages, just waiting on training dates.

“He got an email Monday to say they now want multi-lingual officers.

“How is that fair? So he has been discriminated for being English and talking English? Stupid and unfair.”

The scheme follows the introduction of the London Residency criteria introduced into the Met’s recruitment process last year which requires candidates to have lived in the city for three of the last five years.

This is in the hope of ensuring candidates have a strong link to the capital and an understanding of its diversity and cultures.

A spokesman for the Met said: “The [second language] move is designed to bring officers into the Met with more of the skills necessary to help police and engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible.

“Candidates who apply to be police constables will be tested in the second language as part of our rigorous selection process.”

The 14 languages are Yoruba (Nigeria), Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Italian, German, Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Sinhala (Sri Lanka) and Bengali.

Police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, added: “I am committed to providing a police service which looks and feels more like London.

“We know that almost 300 languages are spoken in the capital. We need to recruit and deploy officers with second languages in areas where those languages are spoken.

“I believe it will help boost confidence, help to solve crime more effectively and support victims and witnesses.”


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