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‘Bulls***’: Ex-police boss slams Tory council’s move to keep street signs English-only

04 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Arfon Jones, former North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at Police HQ in Colwyn Bay.

A former police boss has slammed a Tory council for its move to keep some street signs English-only.

Arfon Jones, who was North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as a Police Control Room supervisor, has described the justification of “safety benefits” used by Monmouthshire County Council to change its policy as “bulls***”.

A report by the council recommended that replacement or additional signs on existing streets be kept English-only, and it uses a hypothetical example of a Welsh speaker calling emergency services to justify the policy.

It suggests a Welsh place name could lead to a dangerous delay if it does not officially exist in the National Land and Property Gazetteer, which is used by the emergency services. The report claims that keeping English-only signs “will reduce the chances of confusion”.

The report adds the monolingual language policy relates only to existing named streets, and that streets on new developments will be bilingual or in Welsh only.

The move by Monmouthshire County Council reverses the council’s previous policy, which was to add a Welsh translation to a nameplate to comply with its Welsh Language Scheme.

Arfon Jones said: “As a former Police Control Room supervisor I can assure that the Welsh speaking public that the register used to update our information have new names added regularly whether Welsh or English. There is no excuse for this discrimination.

“Gwent Police cover all the local authorities in Gwent and they respond adequately to Welsh place names in BG, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Newport so why not Monmouthshire?

“Same applies to the all Wales Ambulance and the South Wales and Gwent Fire Service. Its bulls*** by a an authority who is hostile to the Welsh language. I feel a complaint coming on.”

‘Negative impact’ 

The report council’s says: “The negative impact of reducing potential use of the Welsh language by translating existing street names is offset by the safety benefits for emergency services.

“This proposal aims to standardise the provision of street nameplates in line with recommendations by the Welsh Language Commissioner. It will reduce the chances of confusion around road names, particularly where the Welsh version is significantly different to the English. This will particularly benefit groups such as those with learning disabilities, dementia and visual impairment.”

In response to a story on Nation.Richard John, the Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “Sad to see this sensationalist and misleading click bait. Our street signs are fully bilingual but the Welsh Language Commissioner has published guidance (adopted by many other Welsh councils) that existing English-only street names can remain.”

Paul Matthews, the CEO of Monmouthshire County Council said: “Gosh – ‘happy new year’ didn’t last long. I don’t imagine a headline of ‘council adjusts its policy to comply with Welsh Language Commissioner direction’ would have been quite so ‘clicky popular’.”


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Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
11 months ago

“Our street signs are fully bilingual but ……..existing English-only street names can remain.”

It is clear that Richard John is against Welsh because he is not competent in English.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

Say it as you see it Arfon Jones. Spot on!

The excuse by Monmouth Council regarding English-only road signs is not only an affront to language equality, but also divisive and politically motivated.

Last edited 11 months ago by Y Cymro
Dafydd
Dafydd
11 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I must, for the sake of fairness, comment. Nearly 20 years ago, as part of my job, I made a survey of Welsh street signage in a number of counties in south-east Wales. By far the best was Tory-ruled Monmouthshire, where the Welsh version on street signs was not just a mechanical Pavlovian reaction to the English version, but based on significant research on Welsh toponymy. Sir/madam, I don’t know who you are, but I salute you! By far the worst authority in this respect was Rhondda Cynon Taf, at that time under the control of Plaid Cymru. The Welsh… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago
Reply to  Dafydd

Where this story refers to Monmouthshire council’s decision to use English-only road signage which goes against the 1993 Act , I agree with you that other Authorities have a dubious policy when it comes to language equality, be it Welsh translation or bilingual signs. Although I must add. Both Monmouthshire and South Pembrokeshire standout as areas of Wales that seem to pull in the opposite direction to the rest, who wear like a badge of honour their opposition to the teaching & promotion of the Welsh language , dare I say it, the idea of being part of Wales itself.… Read more »

Dafydd B
Dafydd B
10 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Read the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Feb 2015 code of practice written as a result of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and you will discover they are fully compliant as they are discussing existing Historical English only signs. This policy is in line with the majority of councils across the whole of Wales not just Monmouthshire. All new signs are Welsh only or bilingual with Welsh above English. That is more committed to the language than Cardiff and Caerffili. Diolch yn fawr

Dafydd
Dafydd
11 months ago

The Swiss situation is irrelevant here, because signage in most cantons is in one language only, with a couple of exceptions.

Mark
Mark
11 months ago

I thought emergency services were using “what 3 words” more these days, which basically makes place names and road names needless, which is a big help when services are manned by people with little or no local knowledge of the areas they work in.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago

How does this website get subsidised by the taxpayer? Please tell us with evidence.

Jed
Jed
11 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

It states at the bottom of this page that it is supported by the Welsh Government and by the Welsh Books Council, which in turn is funded (at least in part) by WG. That rather suggests a government, and hence taxpayer, subsidy.

I should clarify that my reference above to comments that “should be avoided” was intended as a reply to a comment that has now been removed.

Grayham Jones
11 months ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Eifion
Eifion
11 months ago

Felly dim ond pobl sir Fynwy sy’n talu trethi Jed?

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
11 months ago

The Tories are trying their level best to kindle a culture war in Wales. Divide and rule.

We have to show them that we treasure the Welsh language as our shared heritage – the common heritage of every Welsh person – whether or not we were fortunate enough to have acquired proficiency in it.

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