British Metropolitan Police Service has launched a recruitment programme to employ new officers who can speak Yoruba and other languages.
A total of 14 languages which have a high prevalence in London’s communities have been chosen for what the Met called a month-long pilot recruitment which started on Monday.
According to a statement issued on Monday by the MPS, the move was designed to bring officers into the Met with skills necessary to help the police and engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible.
The statement said in part, “It follows the introduction last year of a London Residency criteria to ensure candidates have a strong link to the capital and an understanding of its diversity and cultures. Candidates who apply to be police constables will be tested in the second language as part of our rigorous selection process.
“The chosen languages are Yoruba (Nigeria), Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Italian, German, Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Sinhala (Sri Lanka) and Bengali.”
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Howe, noted that more than 300 languages were spoken in London, the capital of Britain.
“I am committed to providing a police service which looks and feels more like London. We need to recruit and deploy officers with second languages in areas where those languages are spoken. I believe it will help boost confidence, help to solve crime more effectively and support victims and witnesses,” Howe said.
The MPS stated further that it employed around 31,000 officers together with about 13,000 police staff and 2,600 Police Community Support Officers.
“The MPS is also being supported by more than 5,100 volunteer police officers in the Metropolitan Special Constabulary and its Employer Supported Policing programme. The Metropolitan Police Services covers an area of 620 square miles and a population of 7.2 million.
“For this reason, we are introducing additional language eligibility criteria as a key skill to become a police constable. While our police officers are able to effectively carry out their duties without the ability to speak a second language, a police constable with this skill is an asset in helping both themselves and their colleagues to more effectively engage with the community and deal with everyday policing situations. To apply, you must be able to speak one of the 14 languages below: Yoruba (Nigeria), Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Italian, German, Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Sinhali (Sri Lanka), Bengali,” it said.