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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

French police told to speak politely at all times

Les gendarmes have been told to use the more formal ‘vous’ instead of ‘tu’ when speaking to others – including children.


FRENCH POLICE are to be ordered to speak more politely to the public.

A new code of conduct for the National Police, which takes effect from next month, requires gendarmes to speak to the public using the formal version of the word ‘you’.

French, like most modern European languages, has two forms of the word – a formal word, ‘vous’ (which is usually used as a plural) and the slightly more casually-used ‘tu’, which is used when a speaker is addressing a friend, relative or someone else with whom they are familiar.

Police would usually have used the ‘tu’ form when dealing with younger people, reports, but the new code explicitly forbids such casual language.

The report noted that this could be difficult for officers dealing with troublesome youths, as use of the word ‘vous’ could be interpreted as showing undue deference to them.

[h/t @LorcanRK]

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Gavan Reilly

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