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THE Metropolitan Police, the biggest force in the country, is now demanding that anyone wanting to join them as a beat bobby must be bilingual.

Scotland Yard has come under fire after placing an advert demanding that anyone wanting to join the Met as a police officer must be able to speak a second language. The move has sparked criticism from a former officer and members of the public on Twitter.

The Metropolitan Police wants to increase the number of bobbies able to speak and understand 14 languages which are widely spoken across London. The list of languages include Yoruba (Nigeria), Hebrew, Arabic, Sinhali (Sri Lanka), with only half the list being European mother tongues.

On reading the Met’s advert, retired Met Police officer Chris Hobbs tweeted: “Whoa. I thought this was a drive to recruit more cops who could speak another language. Didn’t realise it was a requirement. I’ve kept reading and re-reading it. Can’t believe it. What about potential BME (black and minority ethnic) recruits who only speak English? Won’t this also adversely affect the recruitment of guys and girls from the black community whom we would like to see more of?”

Others tweeted “For £19,000 this country is getting really stupid” “The Met’s lack of understanding of the problems it faces is stunning” and “The lunatics have finally taken over the asylum”.

After Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe set an ambitious target of having 40% of all officers from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, only 18% met that criteria when the latest intake passed out in March.

A Met Police spokesman said: “It’s a pilot scheme for four weeks. We will review it after four weeks and see what the take up is and how successful it has been in terms of the number of people expressing an interest”.

Speak Yoruba as a second language? Want to earn £19,000 a year pounding the pavements of London as a bilingual beat bobby? Any takers? Watch this space.

ON SUNDAY morning Ben Roberts woke up expecting his regular weekend treat of a good old bacon sarnie, but he was dismayed to find no bacon in the fridge. In haste, he jumped in the car and nipped to his local Tesco, where he purchased a pack of seven rashers of bacon.

Ben thought seven rashers was an odd number to have in a pack but at least his sacred Sunday morning ritual was safe. He decided he could have four and his partner three, because he had been to the shop. Fair enough! When he opened the packet there were only six rashers inside. He photographed the bacon and contacted Tesco via Facebook.

Ben’s post went viral, with almost 50,000 people liking his tale of Sunday morning bacon woes. Thousands of Tesco customers posted their experiences of the supermarket chain’s inability to count. Some had found six rashes in their pack, others eight.

At least Tesco’s Customer Care employee Jamie has a sense of humour. He replied to Ben’s post understanding his dilemma and expressing his own deep love of a bacon butty on a Sunday morning. He even shared a couple of his favourite bacon sarnie recipes before asking Ben to private message him with his contact details. Nice to see a bit of banter going on for once.

WILL somebody please tell Barclays Bank that we are not morons? As part of its new initiative they have installed poshed-up ATMs in a handful of branches to get customers used to what they call ‘assisted service counters’. What’s worse is that they have given the bloody things names like ‘Sally’.

Barclays is getting rid of that nice woman called Sally behind the counter and replacing her with a robot in the hope that we won’t be able to tell the difference. Oh yes we will, and who do we go to when the robot breaks down? It’s an absolute joke.

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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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