Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has praised an innovative video project designed to increase access to police services among the Deaf community.
The British Deaf Association was awarded £23,899 from the PCC’s Crime Prevention Grant to improve the relationship between members of the Deaf community and police officers and staff to highlight the ways in which vulnerable people can access police services independently to protect their safety.
The project, which got underway in September 2015, involved the creation of bespoke information videos highlighting the difference between emergency and non-emergency scenarios and promoting the right numbers to text for help. The videos are being unveiled to community groups and organisations supporting people who are Deaf.
The work supports Derbyshire Constabulary’s PLOD (Police Link Officers for people who are Deaf) scheme – an initiative in which police officers and staff receive training in Deaf awareness and the use of British Sign Language (BSL). These skills are used to provide communication support in non-emergency situations such as assisting on the front enquiry desk or in the custody area.
Commenting on the project, Mr Dhindsa said: “I’m really impressed with the work the British Deaf Association has undertaken to raise awareness of the ways in which people who are Deaf or hard of hearing can access policing services. These powerful videos will help us to reach some of the most vulnerable people within our society and inform them of who and where to turn if they need police help.
“It can be a frightening and confusing time for anyone who has become a victim of crime but especially so if we are not communicating effectively. The training undertaken by our officers and staff is aimed at reducing unnecessary anxiety by delivering a supportive and reassuring response from the outset. This will help us to build trust within the service and encourage members of the Deaf community to report crime to protect their safety.”
Under the project, an advisory group consisting of members of local Deaf forums and Deaf clubs has been established to improve engagement opportunities while a tailor-designed ‘equalities’ training package has been developed for frontline police staff to increase awareness of some of the barriers faced by Deaf people to reduce inappropriate responses by staff.
The project is aimed at helping the Deaf community increase their independence, understand different types of crime, make informed personal choices on how to help themselves, be more confident in the police service and to report incidents of hate crime.
Feedback gained from a series of consultation meetings between Derbyshire Constabulary and the Deaf community will inform a new Police Deaf Action Plan 2017-2020.
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Posted on Wednesday 22nd February 2017