It can be difficult for any of us to go into a police station, whether to report a crime, seek information/advice or may be to see if something you have lost has been handed in. There can be barriers, barriers that need breaking down & that is the aim of a new scheme Plod (Police Link Officer for the Deaf).
Recently members of Shrewsbury Town Centre Police team met at The Hub (Signal) in the Riverside, Shrewsbury to have coffee with a local deaf & hard of hearing group & to try to improve links with the community. Many of you met Katrina Gilman, Equality & Diversity Officer for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin when she spoke at our June quarterly meeting. Katrina together with PCSO Angie Roberts (who are both currently learning Level 1 British Sign Language) went to the informal coffee morning to explain about the new scheme. Plods will be a scheme available in Shropshire for anyone who is deafened, deaf or hard of hearing. Plods will use their skills in providing a service for any non emergency situation when communication support is needed as the first point of contact.
Police Officers will be qualified in British Sign Language (BSL) but will not provide an interpreting service for cases ie interviewing or taking a statement. Katrina said ” The scheme hopes to break down some of the communication barriers many deaf & hard of hearing people experience when dealing with emergency services”.