POLICE Scotland have been ridiculed on social media after asking Scots what they think of plans to have the force’s name in Gaelic on their uniforms.
The force recently confirmed it is considering having “Poileas Alba” added to uniforms as part of the SNP government-required commitment to the language.
Edinburgh-based officers decided to test the water on their Facebook page, asking the question: “What are your thoughts on dual branding of the Police Scotland/Poileas Alba logo to feature on uniforms, signage and police cars?”
Within two hours they had received more than 30 responses, the vast majority of which were extremely hostile.
Craig McInally wrote: “So 0.8 % of the population but we’ll throw millions at it whilst our NHS,schools,roads fall apart.”
Colin Wood said: “To do this at a time when you are struggling to function, recruit and retain staff shows you need to look at your priorities.
“Without the initial cost of this, how many extra committees and board meetings and “research” will have to be paid for?
“Time to get a grip. If it’s coming from higher up someone needs to stand up to them and say no.”
And Stuarty Bedin wrote: “I think it’s a particularly bad idea as most who speak Gaelic do so as a secondary language, so this would be deemed a waste of money when policing cuts are occurring across the country and civilian staff are being made redundant as a result.
“Shifts are low in numbers and morale is low amongst officers. Utilise the money to do something more constructive with it.”
Nick Davies kept his response short and bitter, writing: “Not now. We’re skint.”
However, a handful of social media users backed the idea.
Mic Webster wrote: “ It costs no extra to educate children in Gaelic as opposed to English and the benefits of bilingualism to brain development are very significant.
“I think you will find there are far more people with Gaelic fluency than 60.000. We should be proud to have a language of our own!”
And Kirsty MacDonald wrote: “Fantastic! Well done Poileas Alba. It’s great to see you raising awareness of our endangered indigenous language.
“As you know, it costs no more money to print up bilingual logos, and it vastly raises the visibility and status of the language. Tapadh leibh.”
Director of Taxpayer Scotland, Eben Wilson, criticised the proposal claiming that even the time spent on the proposal was a waste.
He said: “The ability of our newly nationalised police to generate new cost overheads for themselves is becoming legendary.
“Think of the management time spent even thinking about this consultation, it’s all non-policing activity, typical of large unwieldy organisations.
“It looks like the public reaction is full of common sense, stick to the day job and make our communities safe from crime.
“If Gaelic promotion is desirable, why not let that be a fully local initiative, or part of a national heritage effort voted annually in parliament under sunset legislation. We shouldn’t make the police waste valuable crime fighting time on these ideas.”
A newspaper covering the Highlands recently polled 2,321 online, returning 83% against the dual language plan..
Gaelic Language Plans are a statutory requirement for all public bodies in Scotland with forces having to detail how they can contribute to sustain a future for Gaelic in Scotland.
Police Scotland were ridiculed earlier this year for spending tax payers’ cash to rebrand their helicopter in Gaelic.
Users took to Twitter to criticise Police Scotland and the SNP over the decision.
One user said: “Police Scotland’s in a mess, but never mind, we’ve got Gaelic signage on a helicopter, in Alloa.”
Scottish Conservative for North East Scotland MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Support for Gaelic in traditional areas is only to be expected, but this SNP government is going over the top by trying to force the language into areas which have traditionally spoken a range of Scottish dialects.
“Why should the taxpayer have to fork out for a nationalist pipe dream? For many of us, this is money which could be put to better use such as solving crime and helping to keep people safe on our streets.
“Then nationalists seem obsessed on forcing the Gaelic language on us because it suits their separatist agenda.
“With 82 per cent of Highlanders criticising the SNP’s latest move on Gaelic – it really does go to show they’re out of touch with many Scots on this issue.”