Ploddledygook: Can you unscramble this police jargon?

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A jargon-laden job advert penned by Warwickshire Police has attracted the attention of the Plain English Campaign and county police commissioner Ron Ball.

The ambiguously named Enabling Services Directorate appears to be a desk-job that mostly involves internal communication and admin, including finding things that could make policemen’s jobs easier. But Steve Jenner, spokesman for the Plain English Campaign, said it was one of the worst examples of “ploddledygook” police-jargon he had ever seen.

“There’s not a sentence in it that doesn’t raise a guffaw. Personally, my favourite bit is about the role’s functions, which are made to sound like self-aware entities – how can functions understand anything? It’s nonsense.”

Plain English Campaign founder Chrissie Maher added: “The Directorate’s statement of common purpose is hilarious. What, for example, is ‘a suite of principles’? Did someone write this for comic effect?

“And self–congratulation doesn’t come more ridiculous than ‘we will be dynamic, bold and manage and understand risk’.

“During this ludicrous document we have the claim that ‘Our Corporate Communication Capability enables us to Communicate as effectively as possible’. Not on the strength of this it doesn’t.”

The document is now in the running for the campaign’s Golden Bull Award, and has prompted a strong response from Warwickshire’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Ball.

Mr Ball said: “I’m just in the process of agreeing targets for Warwickshire Police force and winning a Golden Bull award won’t be one of them. In England we have the benefit of speaking a language that should be clear, precise and concise. I want all of our communications - both internal and external - to conform to those principles.

“Warwickshire Police has a good story to tell and it should be told in simple, straightforward English that the public and our staff understand. To the Plain English Society who have felt our collar on this I’d say, ‘It’s a fair cop. We’ll come quietly and mend our ways.’”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire Police said, “This document was prepared for an internal audience. The role of the new directorate was discussed in team meetings and no one said they did not understand the directorate’s role in protecting people from harm after these meetings.”

The opening paragraph from the document reads: “Our Enabling Services Directorate consists of a range of centralised functions ‘delivering professional services and facilities to protect people from harm’ (statement of common purpose). These functions are professionally competent and understand the

operational policing context of their services, ensuring that they are quality assured, effective and efficient. The focus of the Enabling Services Directorate is to maximise the delivery of operational activity by ensuring that we are a forward looking force that actively creates and delivers change, whilst ensuring that we are an efficient and effective force operating to the highest standards.

“In delivering the directorate’s statement of common purpose, it has developed a suite of principles, which in conjunction with our values will underpin the way it operates.”