Thursday, October 29, 2009

British Police Can't Say "Evenin' All" Anymore; Might Confuse People

British police, the enforcement arm of the Nanny State, are now victims of the Nanny State. They have been told not to use certain everyday phrases, because they could cause confusion for some.

An article in the (London) Daily Mail says the Warwickshire Police handbook, Policing Our Communities, says the phrase "Evenin' All" could confuse people from different cultural backgrounds.

"Don't assume those words for the time of day, such as afternoon or evening, have the same meaning," says the handbook.

Right, because people have different diurnal clocks, and so don't tell time like the rest of the country? Because they're still operating on the time zone from home?

A Warwickshire police spokesman told the Daily Mail, "Terms such as afternoon and evening are somewhat subjective in meaning and can vary according to a person's culture or nationality. In many cultures the term evening is linked to time of day when people have their main meal of the day.

"In some countries, including the UK, the evening meal time is traditionally thought of as being around 5-7pm but this might be different, say, for a family from America who might have their main meal earlier and thus for them evening may be an earlier time."

Uh, no, here in the backwaters of America, we still eat dinner/supper at 5 - 7. You're thinking of senior citizens, who usually hit the Early Bird Special at Golden Corral around 4:00.

Officers are also told to not use the words "child, youth, youngster, boy, or girl," as they may be misleading or "cause offence." The want coppers to use the phrase "young people" instead. As in, "Late-in-the-day greetings, young people. Wot's all dis den?"

Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign (and not the magazine) said, "Those writing these guides are overanalysing things. It's political correctness gone crazy. Is anyone really going to be confused by "evening"? And if you can't say what a lovely afternoon it is, what are you meant to say - what a lovely 3pm?"

Look, I understand the need for some updated language and concepts. Trying to use more inclusive language — "staffing" a station, rather than "manning" it, etc. — is important. But who is truly going to be confused by the word "evening?"

Rather than practicing "behalfism" (speaking on behalf of someone else, usually someone you have no clue about), focus on solving crimes, not offending some mythical group that doesn't know when the evening is.

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1 comment:

  1. You can't take The Daily Mail as a source of reliable news from the UK. It's one step up from the National Enquirer in the States. It takes any story and turns it into a hysterical mess.

    Honestly, in all the 25 years I lived in the UK I never once heard a policeman say "evening all". It's the sort of thing they said in 1930s movies, not in real life. At least not for decades.

    It's also the case that staff are being "asked", not "told", to follow these guidelines.

    Is it a stupid set of guidelines in the first place? Sure, but dig a little deeper and choose a reliable news source from the UK and you'll see it's a non-story.

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