Berlin police officers have been issued a 29-page guide by their head office to advise them on “discrimination-sensitive” language that must be used in all correspondence with the public, according to the local Berlin tabloid, BZ.
The Berlin State Criminal Police Office (LKA) called on the capital’s police officers to be more careful in how they describe and how they address individuals when engaging with members of the public to avoid offense.
Language should be chosen “that is not specified by the majority of the population, but by those affected themselves,” according to the tabloid, quoting an internal letter from the LKA to its staff.
Frequently used words including “refugee” and “asylum,” and phrases such as “headscarf wearer” or “mentally handicapped” should be avoided and replaced with more inclusive language.
Officers should also be careful when assuming one’s pronouns to avoid misgendering or offending members of the public.
Terms such as “people seeking protection or protected people can be used” to refer to a refugee, or “even better: people who have fled, people seeking protection,” while police officers should refer to asylum seekers as “people seeking asylum or people seeking protection.”
The word “race” is also understood to be on the black list of undesirable terms.
“It is elementary to listen carefully and to perceive how the person concerned describes himself,” the 29-page guide tells police officers. “This self-designation and the self-chosen pronoun must be respected in any case and not questioned,” the guidance adds.
Furthermore, terms such as “migrant” should be replaced by “people with a history of migration” or “people with an international history.”