Cambridgeshire police introduce scheme to support the deaf
Cambridgeshire police, with support from Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, are introducing a scheme that promotes equal access to the police for deaf and hard of hearing people in the county.
The scheme is known as PLOD – Police Liaison Officers for Deaf People.
The purpose of this scheme is to build and maintain relationships with the deaf community within the county and for PLOD officers to act as a contact point for the public and staff and officers in the force who have, or may have, contact with deaf people.
PLOD is made up of police officers, PCSOs and staff members from across the force who will be trained to British Sign Language Level 2 minimum.
“Cambridgeshire Constabulary is delighted to join other forces in training officers and staff in British Sign Language,” said Tiff Lane, the Action Against Hate coordinator at Cambridgeshire police.
“The Police Liaison Officers for Deaf People (PLOD) scheme promotes equal access for the deaf and hard of hearing and ensures we’re able to provide a more comprehensive service to deaf communities in Cambridgeshire.
“As part of this enhancement we’ve also subscribed to the InterpreterNow app which all officers have loaded on their mobile phones. It allows anyone using BSL to contact us with the confidence that they will be understood.”
Last year, Cambridgeshire police asked their staff if anyone would be willing to volunteer for this position and had more than 130 enquiries. They have now been able to select 10 people to act as PLOD for the force.
They will also be recruiting 20 more staff who will also have an enhanced knowledge of deaf issues so that they can support staff and spread their learning.
Christopher Clelland, CDA police liaison lead, said: “We know that we have had a very hard year because of coronavirus and lockdown, but behind the scenes we have been working really hard with Cambridgeshire police to gain funding for PLOD.
“We feel this is so important for the deaf community as now we will begin to have the access and inclusion we deserve. We will continue to make positive links with Cambridgeshire police and move this project forward. We feel so proud and delighted and I know CDA will continue to support us with this.”
Andy Palmer, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, said the news could not have come at a better time as this week is Deaf Awareness Week.
“We warmly welcome Cambridgeshire police’s initiative to launch a PLOD scheme which should do much to improve deaf people’s access to police and justice,” he added.
“Their use of technology so all officers can access a British Sign Language interpreter on demand via their mobile phone is a great step forward in relations between deaf BSL users and the police. Thanks to our volunteers Christopher, Tracy and Tiff Lane from the force for helping to make this happen.”