Jargon speak: When is a hit and run not a hit and run? When it’s a non-stop road traffic collision of course!

When is a hit and run not a hit and run? When police speak takes over, that’s when.

This press release – or appeal for information – popped up on the West Midlands Police website on Saturday afternoon. It’s an update to a rather horrific hit and run. At least, I thought it was a hit and run until I read it:

'Non-stop crash' or 'hit and run'?

A non-stop road traffic collision? Really? It reminds of when West Midlands Ambulance service started saying that people were suffering ‘injuries incompatible with life’ – ie dead. Or the hospitals in North Manchester which boast having ‘advanced lifesavers’ – as opposed to non advanced lifesaving doctors and nurses, then.

As journalists, we often scoff at jargon speak  – especially from the emergency services – when it makes it into press releases. We scoff even more when they make them into print, and for good reason.

Police forces – along with councils and other parts of the public service – are quick to point out that they can communicate directly with the public now, via websites and social networks. This is true, and a good thing in general, but with the power to communicate directly to the public surely comes the responsibility to ditch the jargon.




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