The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 replaced the Welsh Language Act 1993 and as part of the new legislation, in Wales the Welsh language has equal legal status with English and must not be treated less favourably. Public bodies no longer need to develop and implement Welsh Language Schemes but instead now must comply with a set of national Welsh Language Standards.
From 30 March 2017 South Wales Police is required by law to comply with new Language Standards and are busy working towards the adoption of these Standards.
The purpose of the Welsh Language Standards is to increase and normalise the use of the Welsh Language so that Welsh speakers can use the Welsh Language in all walks of life.
The duties which come from the standards mean we will not treat the Welsh language less favourably than the English language.
The Welsh Language Commissioner has issued a Compliance Notice which sets out which of the 153 standards in the legislation apply to South Wales Police, along with any exemptions and their implementation dates.
South Wales Police takes its responsibilities to bilingual and Welsh speaking communities seriously. As part of our bilingual planning we are actively working towards improving the service we offer to members of the public who want to engage with us in Welsh.
South Wales Police welcome correspondence in Welsh and English. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.
We have Welsh Language Champions that are responsible for providing leadership, advice, guidance and support regarding Welsh language matters to the Force. Because not all of our staff are able to speak or write Welsh fluently we have arrangements in place to provide translation support as well as Welsh language courses. This will help us ensure documents or information for the public which is produced by South Wales Police is available in both Welsh and English.
To ensure compliance with the Compliance Notice issued by the Welsh Language Commissioner a revised governance structure has been put in place. The new governance arrangements supporting the implementation of the Welsh Language Standards consists of a Strategic Board chaired by Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan supported by a tactical Working Group chaired by Chief Superintendent Martin Jones. Underpinning the governance structure is a project plan that tracks and records progress against each of the standards.
In addition to this a Welsh Language Guidance and Procedure has been developed for the purposes of using Welsh internally and promoting and facilitating the use of the language.
South Wales Police’s aim is to comply with the legislative requirement to provide a bilingual service, and also to offer language choice and linguistic courtesy on a routine basis to all those who make contact with us and, additionally, as an internal business language to our staff who speak Welsh.
The Welsh Language Standards place specific duties on the Force to offer and facilitate language choice for the public and staff. There is also a requirement that South Wales Police offers and provides language training to support staff to develop their Welsh language skills.
It is imperative that each individual is equipped with the appropriate linguistic knowledge and skills in order to engage with Welsh speakers effectively and deliver a full service through the medium of Welsh.
Attention has been given to enhance the bilingual capability of the Force and to ensure that staff can demonstrate linguistic courtesy in the Welsh language as a minimum. As a result a Welsh Language Skills Policy is being developed to support this ambition.
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