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Official Cop-speak

One of the funniest things ever is hearing a police officer give evidence in court. There is something intrinsically comical about the way in which they contort the language to say the simplest things. And they all say the same thing, in the same way, with the same air of assumed gravitas. It’s almost as if they are all taught how to speak Official Cop-speak as part of their training! Cop-speak has its own grammatical rules, vocabualary and syntax. So a walk up/down the road becomes “I was proceeding in a northerly/southerly direction.” And police officers who jump out of cars endeavour to “quickly exit the vehicle.” Also why would they find Mr Smith’s house  when their official lingo requires them to “ascertain the precise location of the suspect’s residence”? There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason as to why a particular verb is preferred over another neither. For example why does Cop-speak require suspects to “indicate” rather than “tell”? Why do coppers always “observe” rather than “see”? Why do suspects “flee” as opposed to “escape”? And items are always “purported” – never the real McCoy! “The suspect indicated to my colleague that he did not have the purported money. I then observed him to flee the location before he could be searched.” OK – so he nicked the cash and did a runner before he could be frisked! One of the advantages of our multi-ethnic society is that language becomes more colourful and alive as the argot of the young and the new finds its way into main stream talk.For example everyone knows what it means to “big-up” somebody even if you wouldn’t use the expression yourself. It’s obvious that “the next man’s yard” is the other guy’s house. I wonder if Cop-speak may by some twist of evolution find itself used by our disaffected youth in the not-too-distant future. Wouldn’t it be great to hug a hoodie just before he invites you to proceed in a northerly direction to the next man’s yard for a purported party. Actually, I forgot where the bro lives, so we better ascertain the precise location of his yard first. Innit?

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