Police Officers Learn Sign Language
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 27, 2005
DEVON, ENGLAND--About 65 police officers in North and East Devon's Basic Command Unit are learning sign language skills so they can better communicate with deaf people.
According to a department press release, the officers are learning how to tell deaf people their name and rank, to provide basic reassurance in sign language, and to explain that more experienced sign language interpreters would be on the way to help in serious incidents.
"We want to ensure that all sections of the community have equal access to police services," explained Sergeant Ian Kressinger, the unit's Diversity Manager.
"We want to make sure that police can communicate effectively with deaf people and ensure that officers are aware of their needs."
The officers have been attending the British Sign Language course on their own time since it started in mid-July. They will be offered the chance to take a more advanced course after finishing this one.
If the program is successful, basic sign language training for police could be introduced across the police force.
British Sign Language