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Old 04.08.2011, 17:14
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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No, in Portugal you have police that speak French OR English, I've never met one there that spoke both (I needed to ask directions a few times).

Also, back when I used to live in ZH, I had several friends that were cops (Kriminalpolizei, not traffic cops). They did NOT speak English, but they did speak French.

Tom
You were lucky. I was mugged at the Avenida de Libertade and tried to report to the police in German, English, Spanish and French. We finally agreed on my very poor Portugese and after a while they gracefully accepted to understand some Spanish words.
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  #62  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:16
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Speaking German would probably not have enhanced your experience with the police ... they are snotty with everybody. As a matter of fact I sometimes wonder how much longer people are going to put up with it.

I once took my 1989 Cadillac to Winti police station to report my hood ornament being stolen. All they did was laugh at me and suggest I get a "proper" car.

If they don't they will at least treat you with respect ... US police officers are always friendly & respectful
Normally people treat you with respect when they are addressed with respect.
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  #63  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:17
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Is this so? In 2002 I was in New York, visiting some friends and and managed somehow to get between two fighting people without doing anything. Result: A broken arm and a stay in hospital, where I had to pay the treatment before a doctor showed up. Then police came and told me after my first answer that I should learn proper English. You kno what? They were right, my English wasn't at its best in this very second
So tell us, Simplon, how exactly would you feel if I said, you know what - the cop's right: you should have learned to speak better English (at the time).
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:17
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Sie sollten lernen, die Sprache des Ortes, wo Sie leben
Der Satz ist kaputt.

(Sie sollten die Sprache Ihres Wohnortes lernen)
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:17
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Well, they weren't that wrong though were they?
It was a collector's vehicle ...
What I'm saying is, their attitude problem is bigger than their language problem.
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  #66  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:18
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Normally people treat you with respect when they are addressed with respect.
Mwahh ahhhhahaha hahaha hahhaahh aahhha hhahaahhha aaaa!

You keep on believing it if you want. I refer you to my earlier post about my first few days in Basel.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:21
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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I am surprised everyone is discussing the language skills of cops, but nobody wonders what actually happened?

Was the guy armed? Threatening? I know you didn't understand him, but I guess you would not really let some stranger easily run away with your bag...?

(and you could keep the car/ keys? That's a nice robber...)

i had my car keys in my hand aswell as my phone.......... to be honest i was scared and in shock. my husband has been in hospital for the past month or so ( because a swiss doctor made a mistake during routine surgery, anyway thats another thread all together). i have been working full time and visiting him everyday till around 10pm, when the nurses kick me out....so obviously i wasnt on my game, i would of ran after him shouting ( IN ENGLISH) if it were a normal day....but i stood there .... i thought i might get stabbed......not likely because its switzerland but i honestly thought i was in london town for a second and my natural response was to avoid getting knifed.
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  #68  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:22
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

We had our car's window smashed and the radio stolen, with a lot of damage to the dashboard- when in Amsterdam. The Police spoke very good English- and told us in no uncertain words, that anybody who came and parked in Amsterdam, even in an official car-park, without removing the radio (which was not possible at the time for our model) - deserved to get 'done' - oh how they laughed. Excellent English though.

Very sorry to hear about your husband and hope he gets well soon. The policeman had no excuse for his behaviour, but perhaps had an excuse for his lack of English. I agree that overall British police are a much much better at public relations than the Swiss.
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  #69  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:23
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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i had my car keys in my hand aswell as my phone.......... to be honest i was scared and in shock. my husband has been in hospital for the past month or so ( because a swiss doctor made a mistake during routine surgery, anyway thats another thread all together). i have been working full time and visiting him everyday till around 10pm, when the nurses kick me out....so obviously i wasnt on my game, i would of ran after him shouting ( IN ENGLISH) if it were a normal day....but i stood there .... i thought i might get stabbed......not likely because its switzerland but i honestly thought i was in london town for a second and my natural response was to avoid getting knifed.
Anticipated EF response:

*outraged*

You useless victim. Honestly it is all your fault. As for your husband. Useless too. I mean fancy being hospitalised by a Swiss Dr. We all know that Swiss healthcare is second to none, there's no way they could have made a mistake. You've corrupted him, clearly, with your "foreign ways".

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Old 04.08.2011, 17:26
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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You know I am speaking as a non-native English. It might be difficult to understand, but as a foreigner that learnt English to be able to communicate with other foreigners, this whole "should policemen in USA also learn German" discussion is a bit pointless.

We are speaking here as English as a communication tool. The reason why our kids learn English in school is not because the planet belongs to her Highness the Queen of England, the All-mighty American Empire or the Aussie Roadtrip. It's because it will be easier for them to communicate with people all over the world, probably with closer neighours as French/Italians/Romanians/etc that also don't have English as a mother tongue... Not knowing German is not (or at least shouldn't be) offensive - but knowing a little bit of English is very welcome by all the idiots from 3rd world countries that speak weird languages...
I asume you get yourself informed before coming to Switzerland and therefore know that English is not a local language. You therefore have two possibilities: Either you use every excuse not to learn German or you get to grips and learn the language. If you prefer the first solution: fine. But, please spare me any complaints about locals not speaking your language.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:28
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Mwahh ahhhhahaha hahaha hahhaahh aahhha hhahaahhha aaaa!

You keep on believing it if you want. I refer you to my earlier post about my first few days in Basel.
Well, if we're going to toss out anecdotal evidence, I have to say that the cops at the Geneva airport were quite friendly when my wallet was stolen on the train. Even found somebody who spoke enough English that we could get by - I'm fluent in German, but my French is limited to hello, how are you.

While it would be nice if the cops spoke English, if they don't, you don't have a right to expect it. If they hadn't found someone who spoke English, I'd have found a different solution - a coworker, a colleague, asked the nice lady at the bank who pointed me at the cops after I reported my bank card stolen, etc. The onus was on me. And while losing your bag/wallet/whatever is annoying, frustrating, and possibly scary... it's not traumatic. There's almost always a solution if you keep calm and look.

I'm going to stop working shortly, but I'll be back to watch this thread once I get some popcorn. Haven't we done this a few times before already?
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:34
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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So tell us, Simplon, how exactly would you feel if I said, you know what - the cop's right: you should have learned to speak better English (at the time).
I agreed with them when they told me. British not English full of mistakes with a Swiss accent was defintely too much for them. But at least I tried to communicate with the locals in their native language...
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:35
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

I agree up to here...

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... it's not traumatic.
...sure, not traumatic like being a car wreck or being shot, but still enough to be classed as violent crime in some instances.

All of my 6 or so interactions with the police have been neutral or negative. None positive. I'm happy for you re your wallet, but I'm not going to agree with a statement that says

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I agreed with them when they told me. British not English full of mistakes with a Swiss accent was defintely too much for them. But at least I tried to communicate with the locals in their native language...
<shrugs shoulders>

Well in that case we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:35
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Mwahh ahhhhahaha hahaha hahhaahh aahhha hhahaahhha aaaa!

You keep on believing it if you want. I refer you to my earlier post about my first few days in Basel.
Did you react at the police station in Basel like this? The police officers have my simpathy
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  #75  
Old 04.08.2011, 17:39
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Did you react at the police station in Basel like this? The police officers have my simpathy
Nope. I always use the respect route and stick to that. I just don't agree with your statement that respect is met with respect.

In my instances respect has usually been met with indifference or condescension.

HTH.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:42
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

Especially in a country where a third of the country is not Swiss, it isn't an unreasonable expectation that those in public service speak some english. I blame dubbing of every English program and movie. Up in the nordics, not only do they speak 2-3 local languages, but everyone just about (at least in the cities) speaks English (which can make it difficult for the English speaker to learn to speak the local lingo) as they understand the need for it outside of the nordic countries. With the exception of kids movies, all tv programs and movies are subtitled, not dubbed.

I might also add that my car was robbed here - first time I've been robbed in 20 years, even after living in some rough parts of the wild, wild US. Don't believe the tourism brochures and live like you would in a big city that makes no such claims of low crime.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:48
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Especially in a country where a third of the country is not Swiss, it isn't an unreasonable expectation that those in public service speak some english.
The vast majority of the third that is not Swiss is either German, Italian, French or Austrian - or, can you imagine - learned the language. So can we please stop the "we all don't know it" stuff - the "English only" crowd is in fact really small. An airport cop or one at the main station should speak English, one in Enge does not need to. As it looks, the one at the main station actually did... but that's absolutley not the point here - the point is that the cop was rude.

I made some indifferent to negative experiences with the StaPo ZH myself, so I am in no way defending them. It doesn't matter what languages the guy speaks or not, weather he likes immigration or votes SVP, his attitude was unprofessional. End of story.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:51
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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Sie sollten lernen, die Sprache des Ortes, wo Sie leben
Vous devriez apprendre la langue de l'endroit où vous vivez
Si dovrebbe imparare la lingua del luogo in cui si vive

hope this helps

Is "si" the Swiss Italian version of Lei?

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Especially in a country where a third of the country is not Swiss, it isn't an unreasonable expectation that those in public service speak some english. I blame dubbing of every English program and movie. Up in the nordics, not only do they speak 2-3 local languages, but everyone just about (at least in the cities) speaks English (which can make it difficult for the English speaker to learn to speak the local lingo) as they understand the need for it outside of the nordic countries. With the exception of kids movies, all tv programs and movies are subtitled, not dubbed.

I might also add that my car was robbed here - first time I've been robbed in 20 years, even after living in some rough parts of the wild, wild US. Don't believe the tourism brochures and live like you would in a big city that makes no such claims of low crime.
Well put, Pats.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:54
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

As far as I can see there is nobody interested into asking the police directly what to do when confronted with such a situation.

It's just bashing the police and/or each other. As helpful this forum can be, sometimes is just plain stupid.
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Old 04.08.2011, 17:56
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Re: police with no english skills ;( !!!

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If you're stressed they would probably talk very slowly to you and attempt to get an interpreter.
Also in UK, the city council and Police go out of their way to communicate with minorities, I have seen loads of leaflets, posters in Urdu, Hindi, Polish, Farsi, you name it and they pay freelance interpreters when needed starting from Heathrow all the way to the criminal courts ..And this in a country where the local language is at worldly as it gets. Respect!
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