Poileas Alba

Click  to view the Gaelic Language Action Plan

Police Scotland under the leadership of Chief Constable Philip Gormley & Andrew Glanagan, Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority have this week unveiled their Gaelic Language Action Plan.

This will result in Police vehicles (including helicopters), uniforms, leaflets and Police Station signs all being re-branded to include the Gaelic language.

Most Gaelic speakers reside in the Highlands & Islands region but there are Gaelic speakers throughout Scotland.



Scrap the re-branding and focus on important front line Police duties like preventing & detecting crime.


My main concern about this whole affair is that in recent weeks Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the SNP Scottish Government have all been complaining about their finances (or lack of), this BBC article provides a good summary, yet they are able to fund this re-branding.

I could ofcourse understand the re-branding if it was really needed but I have two points to make;

  • How many people in Scotland speak Gaelic but not English? In the 2011 census we are informed that 57,602 people in Scotland speak both English and Gaelic.  Sadly, it doesn’t tell us how many people speak Gaelic but not English.  What we do know however is that in  the 1977 census only 477 people spoke Gaelic only and that was an ever decreasing figure. And I’m sure only would agree that 477 out of a population of over 5 million is a pretty small percentage.  One must seriously wonder if its worth the cost.
  • If we re-branding public bodies such as Police Scotland to a language such as Gealic, what other languages should we using as part of the re-branding?  I strongly suspect there are more people in the country who don’t understand English but speak other languages.

Another key element of their action plan is to have more of their officers speaking Gaelic, it’s always handy to bi-lingual but in times of such austerity, is it money well spent.

Could this re-branding cash be better spent on providing more front line officers? Or ensuring that officers have the tools they need as reported by the Scotsman in this article.

The full Gaelic Language Plan can be found here.

My continuing thanks to all the front line Police Officers working hard to make Scotland a safer place, and special mention to all those Officers who have been working over the festive period.