Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) have today (Thursday 29 December 2016) launched their Gaelic Language Plans spanning the coming five years.
The documents set out how the police service and the police authority will develop their contributions to creating a sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland and integrating Gaelic within Police Scotland services across the country.
Gaelic has been visual within Police Scotland, and its legacy forces, for many years and although the majority of Gaelic-speaking communities are in the Highlands and Islands region, they exist throughout Scotland and all are served by the national force.
From 2017 the Police Scotland corporate logo will be rendered bilingual as standard across the service and in its branded material, demonstrating equal respect for Gaelic and English. Enhanced opportunities for the public to communicate with Police Scotland and the SPA in Gaelic, and receive responses in Gaelic, are also being explored, along with producing an increased number of corporate publications in Gaelic.
Police Scotland will identify officers and staff who speak Gaelic and those who wish to learn the language will be encouraged to do so, enabling more officers and staff to be involved in translation and production of materials.
Vehicles, signage and uniforms within N Division (Highlands & Islands) already carry Poileas Alba branding, and the force helicopter, which is a national resource, is also dual branded.
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Cowie (Local Policing – North) holds the overall lead for the Gaelic Language Plan. He said: “Following a successful public consultation, I am delighted the Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority Gaelic Language Plans are being launched.
“The importance of upholding traditional and native languages cannot be underestimated and as a police service we recognise Gaelic as an important aspect of Scotland’s heritage. It also has a significant role to play in the overall wellbeing of communities and the country as a whole.
“I look forward with great enthusiasm to taking on the recommendations contained in the plan and developing the service’s involvement with Gaelic speakers and communities where Gaelic is the dominant tongue.
Inspector Donald Campbell, a native Gaelic speaker from Barra who is currently based in Fort William, said, “Tha am plana Gaidhlig againn a’ cur an ceill ciamar a bhios sinn a’ cleachdadh na Gaidhlig ann an obair phoileis gus aite seasmhach a chruthachadh airson na Gaidhlig ann am beatha poblach na h-Alba.”
(Our Gaelic Language Plan sets out how we will use Gaelic to deliver policing in Scotland to help create a sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland.)
Scottish Police Authority Chief Executive Office John Foley said, “The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 was passed by the Scottish Parliament with the aim of securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland, in equal status to the English language. Following a public consultation process, the plans launched today will deliver our commitments over the next five years on a cost neutral basis given the financial challenges faced across the public sector.”
Bòrd na Gàidhlig Director of Language Planning and Community Developments, David Boag said, “We very much welcome the publication of Police Scotland’s Gaelic Language Plan, given the central and important part they play in daily life within communities the length and breadth of the country. Gaelic speaking Police officers and support staff are already offering valuable Gaelic language services to members of the public on a regular basis and this plan aims to identify, secure and build upon these opportunities wherever and whenever possible.”
“Through the 2005 Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act, Bòrd na Gàidhlig can require all Public Bodies and Local Authorities to create Gaelic Language Plans. This piece of legislation, which received cross party political support, was enacted to help secure the status of Gaelic in Scotland and to ensure that this important part of Scottish life is allowed to grow and flourish now and into the future. Gaelic is for the whole of Scotland and Police Scotland, alongside colleagues across the Public Sector are playing an important part in progressing the language’s revival.”
Thuirt an Stiùiriche Planadh Cànain is Leasachaidhean Coimhearsnachd aig Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Daibhidh Boag: “Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte mhòr air Plana Gàidhlig Poileas Alba a chaidh fhoillseachadh o chionn ghoirid, thoradh tha àite cudromach agus deatamach aig a’ phoileas ann am beatha dhaoine ann an coimhearsnachdan air feadh Alba. Tha oifigearan poilis is luchd-obrach taice a’ phoilis mu thràth a’ tabhann sheirbheisean feumail gu cunbhalach ann an Gàidhlig dhan mhòr-shluagh, agus tha e na amas dhan phlana seo togail air na cothroman sin, an gleidheadh agus feadhainn eile a chomharrachadh chun na h-ìre as motha a ghabhas sin a dhèanamh.”
“Fo Achd na Gàidhlig (Alba) 2005, tha ùghdarras aig Bòrd na Gàidhlig iarraidh air gach Buidheann Phoblach agus Ùghdarras Ionadail Plana Gàidhlig ullachadh. Chaidh an reachdas seo, a fhuair taic bho na partaidhean poilitigeach uile, a chur an gnìomh gus inbhe na Gàidhlig a ghleidheadh gu tèarainte ann an Alba agus gus dèanamh cinnteach gum biodh am pàirt cudromach seo de bheatha na h-Alba a’ tighinn am feabhas agus a’ dol am meud san ùine air thoiseach oirnn. Buinidh a’ Ghàidhlig do dh’Alba gu lèir agus tha Poileas Alba, còmhla ri buidhnean com-pàirteach eile bhon Roinn Phoblaich, a’ cur gu mòr ri ath-bheothachadh a’ chànain.”
The Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority Gaelic Language Plans spans 2016 to 2021 and work will be ongoing throughout that time.