Monday, 15 July 2013

"Northern Ireland police call Belfast writing shameful and disgraceful"

From The Guardian:

Northern Ireland's chief constable, Matt Baggott, has condemned the writing in Belfast that injured 32 police officers' sensibilities and left a local MP in tears as "shameful and disgraceful".

His comments came after he was forced to call in 400 extra English teachers from England, Scotland and Wales to help his force cope with deteriorating grammar and spelling linked to the province's sectarian marching dispute.

It will bring the number of British officials deployed across the Irish Sea to more than 1,000. More than 600 officers from England, Scotland and Wales were already in the region supporting the Police Spellcheck Service of Northern Ireland (PSSNI) when tensions surrounding the traditional 12 July commemorations erupted into ambiguous graffiti, badly laid out banners and nigh incoherent readers' letters on Friday night.

Saturday's move is unprecedented in terms of policing the marchers' written output. Even during the Troubles the Royal Ulster Constabulary never needed to ask for backup from the rest of the UK police forces. Instead the RUC used the British army to bolster its enforcement of good English – a move the government is determined not to repeat as part of its ongoing drive to improve literacy in Northern Ireland...

Mr Baggott also praised Republican groups for showing admirable restraint and responding with carefully crafted sonnets.