Gaelic Language Plan 2021-26: Public Consultation

Closed 5 Sep 2021

Opened 23 Jul 2021

Feedback updated 28 Jul 2022

We asked

We wanted to find out what you thought about our draft Gaelic Language Plan. We asked you to rate your level of agreement for each of the plan's core activities and let us know if you thought we were missing anything. 

As a public authority, a duty is placed on Police Scotland to publish an updated Gaelic Language Plan under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

A total of 6,753 responses were received. This includes:

  • 5268 responses to the English language version of the consultation;
  • 1485 responses to the British Sign Language (BSL) version; and
  • 13 responses were received in Gaelic.

A variety of diversity monitoring information relating to the age, race, gender, disability and long-term conditions of individuals was gathered. This data was used throughout the process to enhance our reach and communications towards stakeholders and population sub-groups. 

You said

Around 75% of respondents did not agree that Police Scotland should have a Gaelic Language Plan. Main reasons provided by respondents for this were: 

  • Government interference and politically driven;
  • Not a job for the police with resources better spent on core role;
  • Inappropriate due to the small number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland who almost all speak English; and
  • Other languages (Polish, Urdu, Doric etc) were more worthy of this focus.

We acknowlegde that many people who responded to our consultation disgareed with the premise of having a Gaelic Language Plan. However, legislation requires Police Scotland to have a plan and to take action to adopt and promote Gaelic language in service delivery.

We have set out below the main activities we proposed within our consultation and the analysis of feedback gathered through open text responses.

Gaelic Language Plan Development and Implementation Group

We asked respondents what they thought this group could do to enhance and develop Police Scotland's approach to using Gaelic language. Feedback included: 

  • Working with schools and Gaelic community groups to increase education provision/community engagement. 
  • Recruiting more Gaelic speaking officers and staff, focussing efforts solely in geographical areas of Scotland where Gaelic is already commonly spoken.
  • Learning from police services in Wales about dual language operations. 
  • Having a way for Gaelic speakers to identify our officers and staff who speak Gaelic. 

Increasing our use of Gaelic language in our community messaging, communications and liaison 

We asked respondents what they thought we could do to enhance the profile of Gaelic language in our community messaging. Feedback included: 

  • Evolve our written communications with all or some being available in English as well as Gaelic. 
  • Effectively utilising our Gaelic speaking officers and staff and having a way for them to be identified (e.g. a pin badge). 
  • Bi-lingual posts on social media accounts. 
  • Focusing community messaging in Gaelic through media already familiar with the Gaelic speaking community, such as BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gaidheal.
  • Mixed views as to whether community messaging in Gaelic should be a national or more targeted to areas with high concentrations of Gaelic speakers.

Using our policies, procurement and branding to support Gaelic language 

We asked respondents about how we should utilise our assets and policies to support and enhance Gaelic language. Feedback included: 

  • Develop a policy around recruiting Gaelic speakers and deploying them in mostly Gaelic speaking areas.
  • More officers to learn Gaelic, supported by Police Scotland as their employer, to do so.
  • Develop a greater Police Scotland presence on mainstream Gaelic media and social media.
  • Partnership working and committing to attending community events for engagement with the Gaelic speaking community.

Integrating Gaelic language in our campaigns 

We asked respondents what their campaign priorities would be for any future campaigns in Gaelic. Feedback included: 

  • Water safety, road safety, child safety, domestic abuse, rural crime, drink/drug driving, safety outdoors, countryside code, drug use, bike safety.
  • Campaigns to improve engagement with schools (Gaelic schools in particular).
  • Increased Gaelic content in Police Scotland campaigns will result in many Gaelic words and phrases becoming more familiar to members of the public.
  • Some respondents suggested including Gaelic in posters and social media content rather than full campaigns.
  • No consensus view on whether Gaelic campaigns should be national or directed where the language is more frequently used.

Any other comments or anything gaps within the proposed plan

We asked respondents for any other feedback about the proposed plan. Feedback included: 

  • Need for a cost-benefit analysis to understand which parts of the plan derive the best value for money.
  • Some said the focus of the plan should be aligned geographically with the concentration of Gaelic speakers.

We did

Police Scotland do not consider that the public consultation has suggested any requirement for a fundamental change to the proposed plan. The existing plan is sufficiently flexible to consider many of the points raised by respondents.

Police Scotland will continue to take on board the feedback we have received in this consultation to improve the accessibility of our services in the future. We work hard to ensure language is not a barrier for anyone who needs us. Alongside this work, we will continue to support the Gaelic language, so that it continues to be visible and audible throughout our organisation and within the diverse communities we serve.

If you have questions, or need to access the results in a different way, please email


This consultation seeks your views on the Police Scotland's draft Gaelic Language Plan 2021-26.

Our draft plan was prepared within the framework of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, and seeks to support the National Gaelic Language Plan’s overarching aim that “Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations”.

The Plan sets out for comment our proposed commitments in support of the National Gaelic Language Plan to:

  • Increase the use of Gaelic
  • Increase the learning of Gaelic
  • Promote a positive image of Gaelic.

Stakeholders, partners and members of the public are invited to take part in this consultation.

The survey will take no longer than 8 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey in a different way

BSL users can complete the survey here

This survey is also available in a version that is easier to read and in Gaelic. If you need either of these versions, see the links section at the bottom of this page.

Please let us know if you want to complete the survey in a different way (for example, over the phone):

Reporting a crime or providing information about an incident

Please note that this platform is not for reporting crime, providing information about an incident, or asking us for help. To find out ways to contact the police, please visit our website. If you or someone else needs urgent police assistance, please dial 999 immediately.

Your personal information

Your response is anonymous and you will not be identified through the information you provide unless you choose to identify yourself in your responses. All questions are optional meaning you can chose to answer all, some or none of them. 

By completing this survey, you agree to Police Scotland using your anonymised data for analysis and reporting that will improve the service we provide.

Police Scotland is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We have robust procedures in place to ensure that any data that you provide is processed and stored securely. We will never pass your data on to any third parties without your express consent. We also meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (General Data Protection Regulation or 'GDPR').

If you have questions

If you have any questions, please email:

Why your views matter

Purpose of Gaelic Language Plans

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 21st April 2005 with cross-party support and received Royal Assent on 1st June 2005.

Gaelic language plans help ensure that Gaelic continues to be used and that the linguistic diversity of the whole of Scotland is enriched.

We have a duty to consult with the public on our draft Gaelic Language Plan to ensure it is fit for purpose. We will take into account your feedback before publishing our final plan.

What happens next

Thank you for taking part. We will use the feedback we have gained from this consultation to ensure that our draft Gaelic Language Plan is fit for purpose before publication. We will share our final plan on our website - this will be publicly available. 


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Public consultation