NEW DELHI: These days Delhi Police are polishing their English speaking skills with an accent.
In order to communicate better with foreigners, who are increasingly becoming targets of crime, the police have decided to train officers to not just converse in English but also pick up different accents.
The move comes on the heels of attacks on Africans in the past week, which has triggered a diplomatic row and forced the government to step in and defuse the tension.
The department plans to rope in language experts who will train the police staff in speaking and understanding English in different accents.
Representatives of the natives of 42 African nations living in Delhi have been asked to provide two translators each so that the police can understand their problems better and quicker. They have been asked to nominate one coordinator each to represent their country in the meetings with the city police or local residents.
A senior officer said the trained staff will be posted in the New Delhi district control room to attend calls on the recently launched helpline for foreigners. Some of the trained personnel will be deployed in the central police control room (100) that receives over 21,000 calls of every day.
“Since our 100 number is the first responder to any grievance or crime, at least one police officer trained in English with foreign accent will remain available 24x7 at the central control room for addressing grievances of foreigners,” said a senior police officer.
RP Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (south-eastern range) and the nodal officer for the issues concerning the African community in Delhi, said the decision on accent training was taken after a recent meeting with a delegation of Africans in Delhi.
“They shared their experiences in which despite attempts the police had difficulty in understanding their language because of heavy accent. In the meeting, we assured them that the problem would be sorted out soon. We requested them to nominate two representatives from each of the 42 African nations for a better coordination during emergencies,” said Upadhyay.
Currently, in any emergency situation involving foreigners, the police have to send a formal requisition to the country’s embassy officials concerned to get a translator. This delays police action, said joint commissioner Upadhyay.
The special helpline number for foreigners received two calls in as many days from Africans living in Delhi. One call was related to a fight between a couple and another regarding an argument between a group of friends.
A 29- year- old man from Congo was allegedly assaulted and battered to death by three intoxicated men following an argument over hiring an auto-rickshaw in south Delhi’s Kishangarh near Vasant Kunj on May 30.
Then last Thursday, a group of Africans were allegedly beaten up by local residents in Rajpur Khurd village.