Euphemism alert: “custody suite”

One distinct downside of the privatisation of public services is the ever-creeping presence of marketese. Marketese is that nasty neo-liberal language that turns pupils into customers, citizens into stakeholders and a cancer diagnosis into an opportunity to exercise choice.

Here’s another example: on a recent trip to my hometown of Chester, UK, I drove past the city’s “custody suite”.

Had I not noticed that it was run by the local police force, I might have mistaken it for a boutique hotel, given the name.

My initial response was to picture Molton Brown miniatures in each room, a chocolate on every pillow and loo rolls whose ends have been carefully folded into an attractive point.

Guests (as they are no-doubt referred to) are, apparently, delighted with the services (as they, too, are no doubt referred to) on offer at Chester’s custody suite.

Here, the Cheshire Police Authority proudly reports it has “satisfied customers”.

The Board of Directors will be pleased!