POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


Milica Ga_iÁ

  1. Through surveys and analysis establish the use of English, (possibly German and French) as foreign language(s) in practice and in education of police officers.
  2. Define "common core" of linguistic needs in police foreign language communication in different countries and establish a method (or methods) applicable to different countries in police education and vocationally oriented language learning.
  3. Define and establish an European system of evaluation and certification of basic competence for police and related services.
  4. Produce and distribute teaching materials accompanied by multimedia and with didactic support.

    As visible from the above said, there are several stages in defining Europolice language starting with the needs analysis and finishing with the implementation of produced teaching materials and issuing certificates upon successful completion of the course.

    The reasons for carrying out the projects are many, but the main are:

    The above project to succeed would need a co-operation of several countries and joint well planed use of teachers and researchers' manpower and resources.


A survey of typical situations has been conducted in order to enable police officers (and related services) to render better service to foreign visitors.

1. Analysis procedure:

Three ways of data collection were used:

2. Survey questions were:

3. Findings

Police officers have to use foreign languages in order to communicate effectively.

In the survey foreign languages have not been specified, but most reports recognize that English has the leading position, although language depends very much on the location of the region in which it is being used. The informants have pointed out job specific nature of activities.

Aural / oral communication is of highest priority. Accuracy of comprehension and precision of expression is very important. Social and formal English are present. Variety of speakers and variety of accents are to be taken into account. Further pragmatic and linguistic analysis is possible on the basis of the most frequent situations in which foreign languages are needed, which can be summarized as follows.

a) Contact with foreign visitors

b) Traffic

c) Investigation

d) Alien affairs

e) Border checking

f) International activities
Neighbouring countries
Interpol and other international contacts
International conferences


The research data are to be used for the development of language programmes or setting up language courses in vocational education and in-police language training. So further tasks are pragmatic and linguistic description of the established needs.

The specification of a common core English for police and related services is planned to be devised on the same principles as the series Foreign languages in Adult and Continuing Education developed within the framework of the Language Certificate Programme of the German Adult Education Association and the International Certificate Conference. It is based on 200 to 240 contact hours.

The specifications for English for Police and related public services are designed for those who require or will require English language in that professional context. It is not likely to cover all the requirements - but to set out the common core language likely to be used by the majority in their job situations.

Designers of the course can use the specifications as the basis for a syllabus and a curriculum design for courses for police officers, for assessment of the teaching materials and for evaluation of their experience.

Learning objective is receptive and productive use of the language:

To some extent reading and writing skills may be judged as not so important, but they are very important in the framework of language learning in general.

1. Speech intentions

Social contact
Addressing someone: reacting to being addressed
Greeting someone: reacting to greetings Introducing oneself: reacting to introductions
Official introduction
Asking for identification

Opening a conversation
Maintaining a conversation
Inquiring (questioning) about: Requesting / ordering
Requesting /giving permission
Leave taking
Expressing suggestions
Expressing thanks / reacting to thanks
Apologizing and reacting to apologies
Offering help / to do sth.
Giving reasons / justifying
Indicating cause and effect
Reporting (what someone said, saw)
Giving advice, warning
Expressing opinions
Expressing importance
Telephone conversation
Describing (characteristics of an object, person, an event)

2. Topics

Name, address (location)
Nationality, mother tongue
Places (roads, streets, parks, seaside, rivers, lake)
Services (post office, bank garage, TIC, public transport, places to eat and drink)
Sizes, weights, prices, currency, measurement, quantities Illness - accident

3. Language tasks

Conversation with one person
Giving directions / instructions
Use of telephone
Asking questions
Obtaining information
Formulating demands, suggestions
Apologizing appropriately
Understand what is written in documents of foreign origin

4. Alphabetical wordlist

Up to 1.000 words with examples in the context.

5. Common abbreviations

6. Table of affixes (word formation)

7. Grammatical structures

Verbs (Division, tables)
Prepositions and prepositional phrases
Subordinate clauses (nominal, relative, adverbial, if-clauses, etc.)
Reported speech

Sentence pattern and verb complementation Cases of ellipses and substitution


Methodological side of materials development depends on the data obtained through needs analysis and on set objectives. Based on that, it is possible to develop different approaches depending on whether materials are intended for developing activities in spoken language, writing or for developing reading and text processing skills. Spoken language is the priority here, and different types of authentic personal documents should be presented.

Table of Contents | Library of the Ministry of the Interior: An International Focal Point for Research Findings in the Area of Police and Related Sciences in Central and Eastern Europe

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