Cambridgeshire police have been nominated for the Golden Bull “gobbledygook award” by the Plain English Campaign. An email sent to residents of Cambridge warned of the threat of burglaries in the period leading to Christmas. However, a series of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes left the constabulary red faced.
One line of the email warns residents about locking their car, saying:
“there are ‘Others’ watching who is not locking their car car”
and also advice to ‘rember’ to let their neighbours know if they were planning to be away from home over the festive period. A spokesperson for the campaign says that standards weren’t met, and although the email has caused laughter there is quite a serious undertone. The spokesperson says:
“There is no care taken in this message. Perhaps the writer doesn’t have sufficient ability, but it has clearly not been proof-read.”
As the spokesperson rightly says, you expect higher standards from the police force. The Golden Bull award rewards the best examples of “gobbledygook” during the year, with the email being nominated. According to a senior lecturer in marketing at Anglia Ruskin University, Tim Froggett, communications from a public organisation should be reliable; creating trust and credibility. According to the expert, a negative perception of the organisation can be created by poor quality communication, which may be difficult to alter. The police force has confirmed that messages should all be checked for clarity and accuracy before being sent out.
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