Police’s radio language training scheme leaves Police Federation baffled

Training for police officers in how to speak in keywords over the radio will not be taken seriously, the Police Federation has warned.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has come up with more than 30 keywords and phrases that it expects officers to learn and use when communicating on their digital radios.

Using keywords over the radio instead of regional, informal language will increase national understanding of police operations and free up officers’ time, according to the NPIA.

But the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, was scathing about the system.

“It isn’t going to bring about efficiency,” constable Paul Lewis told Personnel Today. “One of the phrases is ‘Yes Yes’ rather than ‘Yes’. This may have been relevant for analogue communications with line interference, but not for digital radios.”



Use…  Instead of… 
 Yes yes  Yes
 Negative  No
 Code zero  Help! It’s an emergency
 Out  Bye
 Reading back  Here’s the information you wanted
 Standby  I’m busy – can you hang on a minute?
 Thank you  Cheers mate

Lewis also criticised the classroom-based training, which will take up to one-and-a-half hours per officer.

“We are supportive of training, but only when it is needed,” he said. “I don’t see the benefits of teaching people to be parrots.

“Officers have got a lot of pressure on them to deal with [policing] issues their time can be spent far better. The training is not going to be taken seriously.”

The NPIA said the Police Federation was involved in the early stages of developing the keywords, and pointed out that independent body, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), wholly endorsed the new system.

Trevor Evans, NPIA training manager, said: “This is a business-change process. Face-to-face training gives officers the best way to understand it.”

Acpo said it could take up to three years to train all police personnel.

Comments are closed.