Police have been banned from asking for a person’s “Christian” name as part of newly-published guidelines on how to avoid offending ethnic groups.
Officers in Kent are instead being told to consider using the terms “personal name” or “family name” so as not to upset people with different religious beliefs.
They are also being asked to avoid calling people “love” or “my dear” over fears that some people may find the words offensive or unprofessional.
The guideline, which was published this week following a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, was compiled by Kent Police’s diversity team and circulated to all members of staff.
In addition to the advice about Christian names, officers are now being asked to use “mixed parentage” or “dual parentage” instead of mixed race, and to be more specific when describing people as Asian, African or African-Caribbean.
They have also been warned against comforting people by putting an arm around them, or shaking the hands of others.
A spokeswoman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness said police officers should not have to constantly worry about what they can and cannot say.
She added: “Obviously the term ‘Christian name’ has a religious origin but today it’s just an everyday word that everybody uses. I’m not religious but would I be offended if somebody asked me what my Christian name was? Of course not.
“There are so many different naming systems out there that it would be impossible to expect the police to use them all, so why not just stick to the most common one?
“Unfortunately they’ll probably have to stick to these guidelines unless they want a ton of bricks coming their way.