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What is ploddledygook?

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Are the police committing a crime against the English language?

According to the Plain English Society (PES), we need to get back to a Dixon of Dock Green society in which the police (or ‘rozzers’, as they were then known) talked about ‘proceeding in a northerly direction’ and the most popular jargon phrase was ‘’Ello, ’ello, ’ello what have we got ’ere then?’

The PES warns that modern policing is riddled with indecipherable buzz words and silly job titles, like ‘citizen focus command’ and ‘director of knowledge architecture’. Talking about ‘holistic’ policing or ‘end games’ is just ‘ploddledygook’, according to the pressure group.

Is this fair? Everyone else is using the terminology of ‘customer focus’ and ‘mission statements’, so perhaps the police should be allowed to join in. However, it’s hard not to share the view that Essex Police’s website could have a more appropriate catch line than “We always strive to put the customer first”. Customers, in this case, being the victims of crime, who may not feel they exercised much consumer choice.

‘Ploddledygook’ is, like other breeds of jargon, not only not saying what it means, but also attempting to fudge the issue. A mission statement which reads ‘We always strive to catch the villains and bang them up for good’ might go down better, even if that is a mission which is often impossible.

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