On 7 December, public organisations in Wales will be holding a one-day campaign to raise awareness of the public's rights to use the Welsh language.
The Welsh Language Commissioner is responsible for coordinating the day. Dozens of public organisations across Wales will also join in the celebrations by promoting their Welsh language services on the day.
Welsh language standards have created the rights, and 124 public organisations in Wales are operating these standards: from county councils, to health boards, the emergency services, colleges and universities, and national organisations in Wales.
Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts, said: 'Since the introduction of standards, I have seen a transformation in the rights of Welsh speakers and learners. The Welsh language is now part of the way organisations plan their services, and increasingly people have confidence that a quality service is available to them through the medium of Welsh. The standards have also led to establishing rights for employees to use Welsh at work, significantly increasing the opportunities to use the language on a daily basis.
‘Of course, organisations are expected to promote their services throughout the year, but giving everyone one day to celebrate the Welsh language services available is an effective way of raising awareness. It is also a reason to set a date each year to remind staff internally of existing rights and carry out promotional activities.’
North Wales Police is proud to be part of the campaign once again this year. As part of the celebrations, we’ll be running a social media campaign to highlight our Welsh language services and to promote our Welsh language social media channels.
Meic Raymant, Head of Welsh language Services at North Wales Police said: “Here at North Wales Police we are fortunate to have a good percentage of the workforce who are Welsh speakers and they are able to provide the residents of North Wales with a high standard of service in Welsh. We also have many staff who are learning though our own courses or developing their Welsh skills and confidence to use them with the support of our network of Welsh Language Champions.
“People can use Welsh with us over the phone, when writing to us, when browsing our website and social media accounts, and when applying for jobs with us.
“We recognise that the ability to speak Welsh is a skill alongside other policing skills and we have developed a Welsh Language Skills Policy to reflect the importance of this.
“A number of initiatives to improve our ability to demonstrate linguistic courtesy and to offer a genuine language choice to the public have also been developed. We are also working to offer that same language choice to our staff in our work to promote bilingual workplaces. With the support of the Force, many staff are learning the language or improving their skills and their confidence in using it through attending our internal Welsh language training provision or through support from our own departmental Welsh Language Champions.”
Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki, Chair of the North Wales Police Strategic Welsh Language Committee said: “Here in North Wales Police we take our responsibilities to our bilingual and Welsh speaking communities very seriously. For many years we have acknowledged the importance of the Welsh language and bilingualism in our Welsh language strategies and schemes.
“It is vitally important to ensure that the public receives a language choice, and access to officers and staff who are able to deal with their problem through the Welsh language. Providing language choice from the first step is very important - from the control room picking up the phone, to a member of staff arriving at the incident, and then to members of specialist units. Furthermore, there is no doubt that some people will be more willing to cooperate with us, to build a relationship with us and to provide us with information through the medium of the Welsh language.
“We are proud of our commitment to using the Welsh language as we provide protection and reassurance to the public.
“The ability to communicate clearly is a vital tool in policing and we want people to receive the highest level of service from North Wales Police when they reach out to us, but also in the language they feel most comfortable using.”
You can support the campaign on social media by following #MaeGenIHawl or visit the welshlanguagecommissioner.wales website.
Notes for editors
This is the third year that the Commissioner has held Welsh Language Rights Day on 7 December.
This date was chosen because it was on 7 December 2010 that the Senedd voted to pass the Welsh Language Measure, the legislation which created the framework for establishing rights for Welsh speakers.