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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Police recruits face Welsh test
Richard Brunstrom
Mr Brunstrom said his learning Welsh was 'personal leadership'
North Wales Police recruits will have to take a Welsh language test from next month, its chief constable has said.

Writing in his online web diary, Richard Brunstrom said new officers face a "simple" Welsh test before they join and a more difficult one during their first couple of years.

No-one can be promoted without passing the simple language test, he said.

Mr Brunstrom said the policy reflected the force's 30-year bilingualism strategy.

In an entry to his online diary on 19 July, Mr Brunstrom wrote: "Nearly 50% of our recruits are now Welsh speakers, and we have a queue waiting to get in.

"Good news for Wales and Welsh, I reckon.

Views on policing

"I've learned the language because Wales is a bilingual country, and it's vitally important that the police demonstrate language sensitivity - and in my opinion this needs personal leadership."

Mr Brunstrom, who started to learn Welsh in 2000 and has gained several Welsh language qualifications, added that on Monday he recorded the Beti a'i phobl, a magazine programme for Radio Cymru, the BBC's Welsh language radio channel.

He claims he has become the UK's first chief constable to launch an online weblog, as part of his force's website, and also plans to podcast.

In his first blog, he talks about his views on policing, his first arrest of 2006, his "frustration" at merger talks and cycling with his son.

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said the language test policy was first announced at the 2005 Eisteddfod in Caernarfon, and applied to new recruits from 1 August this year.

Richard Eccles, Secretary of the force's Police Federation branch, said his organisation considered the tests part of the force's Welsh-language provision.

He said: "The initial entrants' is a very simple one, not much beyond a meet-and-greet and some place names. It's not particularly onerous."

Police chief airs views in blog
19 Jul 06 |  North East Wales
'Blog' picked as word of the year
01 Dec 04 |  Technology

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