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  #41  
Old 16.10.2019, 19:48
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

In my experience of calling the police in Switzerland, and of being present when someone else did so, I'd say the same patterns are here as one can watch on so many youtube videos about calls to emergency centres: the recipient of the call is more likely to be able to dispatch proper help when the information received is brief, clear and to-the-point.

When met with a lot of words, the emergency helper has to find a way to extract the meaning from them, or to get those words to stop, so that the salient points can be gathered systematically.

Having had that peculiar experience of not initially understanding what was said to me, before I realised which language was being spoken, I could imagine that a police (or other) emergency call recipient might, at least at first, and under the pressure of this call plus all else that is going on in the background, say "no" to English, and then after a few minutes his/her English kick in, so that the conversation becomes possible.
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  #42  
Old 16.10.2019, 19:53
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Easy: You live in Leimbach. Last time somebody loudly shouted for help there was during the battle of Letzi in 1443.
One could also wonder why Suzie still can't speak the local language after having been here for at least 7 yrs.

PS: I have not always lived in Leimbach
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  #43  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:09
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

Funny how the right-wing small-state libertarian crowd are always so very quick to leap to the defence of the armed wing of the state.

You really think they're there to serve and protect YOU?
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  #44  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:14
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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You know how many people look away/run away/pretend not to notice when there is trouble? I tend to got toward it because I am very aware how people tend to assume someone else will deal with something - and then nobody does anything (aka Bystander Effect).
I am the same but after having lived in Switzerland and been frustrated by other people's rude attitudes when you are doing something to help others, I am trying to change my ways. Admittedly, if someone was being strangled, I would try to help but more and more I find myself thinking if the people that I am trying to help deserve my help/time.

Take the OP's case: She tries to help someone else but faces a rude attitude from the police and is obviously offended. Maybe she feels bad already about her German skills. Why treat her like that? Maybe someone is dying while the police officer makes such a big fuss about a situation that he has skills to work around.

Once I found a wallet in a library and tried to approach someone who works there. I had to wait some because she was talking to someone else but decided to interrupt as I wanted to go and mind my own business after handing over the wallet. She gave me a nasty look and body language as if to say "Don't you know you need to wait" which changed into a sheepish smile when I explained the reason. But boy, did it annoy me! Next time I see a wallet, I am not picking it up.

This sort of thing happens regularly to me as I find that I try to be helpful and
considerate but I am not sure I will keep on doing this as I often see other people with a "not my problem" attitude around me.

On a different note, my experience with police officers so far have been very positive, especially with gorgeous male ones . There were a couple of times I was fined over trivial offenses but when it really mattered they were good.
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  #45  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:20
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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You know... when a lot of people report first hand experiences that dont match your opinion... maybe you are wrong? Nobody says that police work is easy... but the Zurich version is unusually hard.

And its not just EF users... this is a famous documentary where the Zurich cops showed the TV "how its done"... and caused a public outcry back then:


I have to admit that I also thought that policing in Zurich was mostly about catching wrongly cycling Velofahrer. Don‘t know when your reportage was from, but really. Just look at any news from the past year in Switzerland, or even the past month. It‘s full of (family) murders, shoot-outs, arson, senseless street violence etc. etc.

Most of the stuff doesn‘t even reach the news. It‘s time we took off our pink-tinted glasses tbh.
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  #46  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:26
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Why is it that most of us never encounter such problems, but that some members keep running into them....
This is really interesting. I experience such things a lot but my husband seems to have fewer problems. I have been thinking what the reason could be.
I came to the following two conclusions:
  1. Some people are really nondescript, almost invisible. They are unlikely to stick out in a crowd. They avoid eye contact with others, listen to music with headphones. Someone looking for a person to be aggressive against is unlikely to pick them.
  1. It happens more to women. Women are unlikely to confront men but they will happily attack their own gender. Add to this the male half of the population and a woman is more likely to be the target of aggression while men are usually confronted by other men, hence are only likely to be targeted by one half of the population.

Last edited by DerDieDas; 16.10.2019 at 20:27. Reason: Grammar
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  #47  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:42
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

Shortly before we moved from Kleinbasel last year a retired neighbour in our building went to the Ombudsman about all the problems during the night with open drug dealing, dealers fighting and arguing loudly etc. None of us could sleep and the main police station a street away at Clarastrasse was doing nothing.

We were given a specific number to ring when there was trouble, my husband had to use it at 5.30 one Monday morning as we'd been kept awake all night (the apartments opposite ours had all their lights on and people were at their windows). When he rang it it was a call centre, they merely told us to ring back again in another hour if the problems were still going on, then they'd get the police out.

Part of the problem in Kleinbasel is with the guy on the city council who's in charge of policing and justice. Everything he does is a PR stunt (I believe he used to be a PR guy before he got into politics). The ridiculous stunt he pulled with painting women against lamp posts on the pavements and a dotted line designating the red light zone just made matters worse. Some of the little businesses down there like hairdressers said it made the prostitutes more aggressive because if they asked them to move from their shop fronts they'd shout they owned the street. There's also a woman on the city council whose partner owns one of the contact bars and some flats down there.
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  #48  
Old 16.10.2019, 20:46
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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This is really interesting. I experience such things a lot but my husband seems to have fewer problems. I have been thinking what the reason could be.
I came to the following two conclusions:
  1. Some people are really nondescript, almost invisible. They are unlikely to stick out in a crowd. They avoid eye contact with others, listen to music with headphones. Someone looking for a person to be aggressive against is unlikely to pick them.
  1. It happens more to women. Women are unlikely to confront men but they will happily attack their own gender. Add to this the male half of the population and a woman is more likely to be the target of aggression while men are usually confronted by other men, hence are only likely to be targeted by one half of the population.
I wouldn’t want my wife to describe me as “really nondescript, almost invisible”...
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  #49  
Old 16.10.2019, 21:17
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Good morning,

In the middle of the night last night, a woman screamed for help in the street. I immediately jumped out of bed and called the police. My German was admittedly poor from being woken from a deep sleep. The policeman screamed at me on the phone that he could not understand me. After multiple attempts to explain myself, I kindly asked him if he spoke English, only to be told a firm "NEIN". Once he could finally understand me, he switched to perfect English and thanked me for helping and that they were already on their way from other multiple calls.
Your claim makes no sense. At all.
Never attribute to malevolence what can easily be explained by inability unless you have solid proof.

Why would someone, on an emergency line for christ's sake, pretend to not speak your language even though they do? Why would the person listen to multiple attempt if they didn't wan't do use English all along? Did it ever occur to you that what was said was actually the truth?

Uttering some formula like "thank you for calling" or whatever the closing line was doesn't mean anything, it's trivial to memorise some pre-formulated phrases.

Still, your assumption says a lot about you and your sense of entitlement.
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  #50  
Old 16.10.2019, 21:23
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Your claim makes no sense. At all.
Never attribute to malevolence what can easily be explained by inability unless you have solid proof.

Why would someone, on an emergency line for christ's sake, pretend to not speak your language even though they do? Why would the person listen to multiple attempt if they didn't wan't do use English all along? Did it ever occur to you that what was said was actually the truth?

Uttering some formula like "thank you for calling" or whatever the closing line was doesn't mean anything, it's trivial to memorise some pre-formulated phrases.

Still, your assumption says a lot about you and your sense of entitlement.

I would claim the opposite. It makes perfect sense. The person on the line probably has a basic understanding of English. Not good enough to work in it, but probably does get the point. If the call was switched to English would the person be legally liable to understand the panicky caller correctly... and the operator was obviously not comfortable enough with his English to do so. Same reason why so many EF users need to bring a translator to their RAV appointments although I am really sure most of the advisors there could do the talk in English... they dont want to because they dont want to face the potential legal repercussions if they get it wrong. Unfortunate for any person living in CH who does not speak the local language but part of expat life.
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  #51  
Old 16.10.2019, 21:25
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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I wouldn’t want my wife to describe me as “really nondescript, almost invisible”...
He says so about himself. He is happy with this quality because he avoids problems.

It is interesting you are hung up on this though when I was obviously making an observation based on experience and only using the terms because that's something we agreed on with my husband. You found something and jumped on the opportunity to be critical which probably proves my point that women are most likely to be attacked?

Last edited by DerDieDas; 16.10.2019 at 21:34. Reason: Typo
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  #52  
Old 16.10.2019, 21:27
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

I've got involved in a couple of incidents over the years: I'm no hero, I just have a big mouth.

I never called the police, though. I'm no grass.
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  #53  
Old 16.10.2019, 21:30
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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I would claim the opposite. It makes perfect sense. The person on the line probably has a basic understanding of English. Not good enough to work in it, but probably does get the point. If the call was switched to English would the person be legally liable to understand the panicky caller correctly... and the operator was obviously not comfortable enough with his English to do so. Same reason why so many EF users need to bring a translator to their RAV appointments although I am really sure most of the advisors there could do the talk in English... they dont want to because they dont want to face the potential legal repercussions if they get it wrong. Unfortunate for any person living in CH who does not speak the local language but part of expat life.
I disagree about RAV advisors. They do it out of spite, just to make people's lives difficult.
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:34
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Uttering some formula like "thank you for calling" or whatever the closing line was doesn't mean anything, it's trivial to memorise some pre-formulated phrases.

Still, your assumption says a lot about you and your sense of entitlement.
She does not say that was the only thing he did in English, the thanking I mean. I had the idea that he communicated that he understood the situation and thanked her for reporting. I doubt she would come here and make a rant (on a small scale) if she weren't sure.
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:34
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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I disagree about RAV advisors. They do it out of spite, just to make people's lives difficult.
They refuse to speak a foreign language in their own country out of spite?

Yeah, that makes sense.

British benefit officers routinely speak Malayalam and Dyirbal to all-comers, and their German equivalents get moist at the thought of conducting meetings in Hittite and Welsh...
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:36
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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They refuse to speak a foreign language in their own country out of spite?

Yeah, that makes sense.

British benefit officers routinely speak Malayalam and Dyirbal to all-comers, and their German equivalents get moist at the thought of conducting meetings in Hittite and Welsh...
Your point makes no sense. Malayalam or Dyirbal (if these languages even exist, can't be bothered to Google) are not the lingua franca and are not thought starting from 3rd year primary school.
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:39
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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Your point makes no sense. Malayalam or Dyirbal (if these languages even exist, can't be bothered to Google) are not the lingua franca and are not thought starting from 3rd year primary school.
English is still foreign. Expecting low paid workers in shitty jobs to put their professional reputations on the line to make lazy foreigners' lives easy is absurd.

If you've been here long enough to make a claim on the RAV, you've been here long enough to negotiate a ten minute conversation with a RAV advisor in the local language.
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:41
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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If you've been here long enough to make a claim on the RAV, you've been here long enough to negotiate a ten minute conversation with a RAV advisor in the local language.
I have no problem with RAV officers asking to speak in the local language. At the end of the day, they are trying to make people's lives more difficult to encourage them to find jobs quickly.

I just disagree with the reason being given as fear of litigation or reputation.
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:42
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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I have no problem with RAV officers asking to speak in the local language. At the end of the day, they are trying to make people's lives more difficult to encourage them to find jobs quickly.

I just disagree with the reason being given as fear of litigation or reputation.
What's difficult about a ten minute conversation in the language of the town in which you are living?

Dramatic, much?
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Old 16.10.2019, 21:47
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Re: Polizei speaking English in Switzerland

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What's difficult about a ten minute conversation in the language of the town in which you are living?

Dramatic, much?
Well obviously it is difficult for some people who are already down on their luck and unemployed and probably lacking in confidence that they come here often to ask advice/help with their RAV advisors. Not everyone can be as perfect (!) as you.

Also, you don't need to be here long to sign up to RAV. If you come from an EU country and have already worked there and worked 1 year here (not sure how along) you can apply to RAV. One year is not that long for many people to get a basic grasp of the language what with the move, adjusting to new country and new job etc.

Edit: it is so interesting that when you are cornered and your points are refuted, you go and pick up a side point in my comment and reply to that. Fascinating to observe.
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