Police force teaches officers youth language in popo engagement classes

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Other translations included “popo or feds” which means “police” and “swear down” which means “tell the truth,” it said.A Lancashire Police spokesman said the list was on display at their station in St Annes.“It’s in place to help the neighbourhood team understand some of the terms and phrases used by teenagers,” he said.Sheldon Thomas, chief executive of Gangsline, a consultancy that trains professionals to understand gang mentality, recently highlighted the need for officers to become more “street” in order to effectively communicate with young gang members and other youths.He said slang words such as “gwop,” which means a wad of cash and “sweets” which means bullets were akin to a foreign language to most serving officers.”This is how they speak,” he said. “You have to adapt your strategy. How can you serve a community if you don’t understand the community?”Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, has warned that police and social media firms are failing to detect gang videos because they don’t understand “youth language,” which evolved so quickly the criminals were keeping ahead.He cited as an example “plugging”, the practice by which gangs compel a child to carry drugs internally with the risk that if caught by rivals, the drugs are forcibly removed. If the “popo” want the kids on the street to “swear down” they should take careful note.Police officers at on the Fylde coast in Lancashire have compiled a list of street slang in a bid to teach officers how to decipher youth language.The list, scrawled on a whiteboard, explains that Stormzy is a rapper from Croydon as opposed to being concerned with meteorology.It states that  “beef-ting fam” means “starting an argument” while “peng” means “good/attractive” and “GOAT” stands for Greatest of all Time.A photograph of the board was posted on Twitter by a police officer from Lancashire.“Spotted at a Police station somewhere on the Fylde coast,” he wrote.“Never have I ever laughed so hard. Would genuinely be lost in a conversation with youth today.”The list of translations was spotted by a member of staff on the Reigate and Banstead beat in Surrey and published on its Facebook page, with the tongue-in-cheek claim that it was rolling out youth language training to engage with “younger R&B residents”.When a member of the public suggested that “Wagwan” meant “what’s going on?” as opposed to “Hello, how are you?” the force replied: “Indeed. But that in itself translates to a greeting. ‘Wagwan?….Reet bruv’ = ‘Hello how are you today?…..I am very well Thank you squire.’” “This is dangerous because social media companies … or the police may not be aware of the context and may not flag up the content,” Mr Khan said.


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