Police banned from asking for someone's 'Christian' name because it might offend those of other faiths
Police officers have been banned from asking for 'Christian' names for fear of offending other religions.
Officers taking down a suspect's particulars must now refer to their 'personal' or 'family name' as the word 'Christian' could offend Muslims, Sikhs and other faiths, according to new diversity guidelines.
They state bobbies on the beat should refrain from using phrases such as 'my dear' or 'love', when addressing women for fear it may cause embarrassment or offence.
Well-meaning gestures like handshakes or putting a comforting arm around a victim or grieving family member are also prohibited as it could be deemed 'unprofessional'.
The handbook produced by Kent Police, which aims to 'promote clearer communication' and 'break down barriers' with diverse communities, advises officers to avoid language like 'Christian' name or surname.
They are also warned not to use terms like afternoon or evening as it could confuse people of 'different cultural backgrounds' about the time of day.
The 62-page 'Faith and Culture Resource' booklet produced by the force's diversity support group sets out customs and practices in a number of religions and beliefs including paganism and rastafarianism.
In it, officers are told to offer to remove their shoes on entering people's homes as some religions frown upon shoes being worn inside the home.
Other handy tips for police include wiping their feet to get rid of mud when entering a gypsy's trailer and not to put a cup of proffered tea on the floor as this could offend their standards of cleanliness.
The booklet also contains a section on appropriate terms to describe ethnic origin, suggesting 'mixed parentage' or 'mixed cultural heritage' should be used instead of mixed race'.
Staff are warned that when speaking to someone from Africa or Asia, they should refer to their specific country rather than the continent as a whole.
The rulebook has been described by Kent Police Federation secretary Peter Harman as a 'useful and educational reference guide to dealing with different communities'.
But it has angered some rank and file officers who say it is politically correct nonsense.