Police officers have been told not to say “man up”, “OAP”, “policeman” and “middle-aged”, along with a host of other common words and phrases when dealing with the public as they could be “unlawful discrimination”. The Telegraph has the story.
The 12-page guidance document, published by Staffordshire Police, warns that “discrimination through language causes offence, patronises and may be unlawful”.
The guide, issued to officers in June, also warned police not to use the phrase “high poverty rates” and instead call deprived areas “communities with access to fewer opportunities”.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said the language advice had been issued after a consultation with “external consultants” to ensure everyone was treated with the “utmost courtesy and respect”.
The guidance states that the examples included are “by no means exhaustive or definitive” as language is always changing.
The recommendations also advise against using gender-biased expressions or expressions that reinforce gender stereotypes, such as “man up” or “grow a pair”.
The guide makes further suggestions for the way officers identify individuals by their jobs.
The term “cleaning lady” should be swapped for “cleaner” while “spokesman” should be switched to “spokesperson” and “statesman” should be replaced with “official”, “diplomat”, “political figure” or “leader”.
The word “policeman” has also been banned with officers told to use the “police officer” instead.
On the list of banned phrases for older people are the terms “elderly, middle-aged, pensioner and senior”.
Officers were also told that they could not use the phrase “confined to a wheelchair” “suffering from” or “diabetic person” when referring to people with disabilities.
People who describe themselves as Christians or Muslims should not be referred to as such – instead, officers should call them “Christian people” or “Muslim people”.
Language around mental health was also referenced, with the phrases “suffers with anxiety” and “struggles with depression” also on the banned list.
Police were instead encouraged to say, “the person has anxiety and depression”.
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Image: This is very likely an AI-generated image, but one with more than a ring of truth to it.