In North Wales Police we take our responsibilities to our bilingual and Welsh speaking communities very seriously. Over the years we have developed a number of initiatives to improve our ability to demonstrate linguistic courtesy and to offer a genuine language choice to the public. We are also working to offer that same language choice to our staff.
Whilst all of our staff can speak English, nearly a third of our staff are bilingual and speak Welsh fluently. With the support of the force, many others are learning the language or improving their skills and confidence in using it.
In responding to the requirements of legislation the force is able to demonstrate its own commitment in our Welsh Language Scheme to give equal status to both languages and to work to become a bilingual organisation.
As part of our bilingual planning we have produced Welsh language protocols to ensure that all new entrants, and existing staff, have at least some ability to speak Welsh. Pronouncing people's names and place names correctly, along with the use of a few simple words or phrases, can make all the difference and will demonstrate linguistic courtesy, respect and sensitivity. The ability to understand and pronounce a Welsh place name or address accurately is a health and safety matter for all of us.
In 2010 North Wales Police received national recognition for its work and innovative projects to promote more use of Welsh when it won the 'Welsh at Work' category of the Institute of Welsh Affairs Inspire Wales Awards.
Welsh Language Services Department
We have a team who are responsible for providing leadership, advice, guidance and support regarding Welsh language matters to the force and Police and Crime Commissioner.
Because not all of our staff are able to speak or write Welsh fluently we have our own dedicated translation unit. They assist staff in ensuring that any document or information for the public is available in both Welsh and English. The translation unit staff will also translate information received from the public in Welsh into English, and provide simultaneous translation support in public and some internal meetings. They also provide assistance as part of operational policing matters.
Other members of the Department are responsible for the development and promotion of the joint Police Force and Police and Crime Commissioner Welsh Language Scheme and initiatives to encourage and support staff in developing and using their Welsh skills in the workplace.