Commissioner Listens to the d/Deaf community


Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall is hosting a public surgery on Wednesday 27 October 10-11.30am with Cumbria Deaf Association and some of their British Sign Language users and volunteers at 5 Castle Street, Kendal, LA9 7AD to listen to members of the d/Deaf community’s views on policing matters in Cumbria.


Peter McCall comments: “A large part of my role as Police and Crime Commissioner is to listen to the views and policing concerns of the people of Cumbria and I am looking forward to getting a better understand of any problems or barriers the deaf community face in their contact with the police or issues around community safety.


“Interacting with the police can be stressful, regardless of whether you are a victim or a witness with good hearing or a member of the d/Deaf community. This is why it is vital that we try to gain a greater understanding of any potential barriers people may be facing when it comes to reporting crime and feeling safe.


“Surgeries such as these, give me a real feel for what people are experiencing out in our communities and it is important to listen to all groups, especially those that can often remain ‘hidden’ and as a result, are overlooked.


“I hope that members of the deaf community use this opportunity to chat with me about any ideas, suggestions or issues they may have regarding policing, crime or community safety.


“With your information, we can use this to help prioritise what we do to improve the quality of life for those living or working in Cumbria. It is important that we all take some responsibility to help keep Cumbria safe and it is only by working together, that we can tackle crime across the county.”


Caroline Howsley, general manager at Cumbria Deaf Association comments: “As an organisation representing the d/Deaf community in Cumbria, we have listened to our members about their concerns, one of which is around safety and interactions they have with the Police.


“We are so very grateful to be holding this dedicated surgery with Mr. McCall, it is the first of its kind in Cumbria. For an often overlooked and unheard community, this is valuable in both understanding the issues around policing in the current climate and working together in the future to overcome barriers.”


Force lead for student officer training, Detective Sergeant Rob Ewin said: “We want everyone in the community to feel they can approach the police; we are here to help and were are here keep people safe.


“Everybody’s needs are different, and the needs of a victim or perpetrator are assessed at point of contact. Any addition support or service identified as needed will be implemented, such as contacting Language Line for a Signer. This is in line with the Victims’ Code of Practice: that a victim has the right to be understood.


“Training is given to all student officers on diversity and vulnerability and how to support those persons through their contact with the police.


“We also have Crime Prevention Officers, who carryout safeguarding assessments in the homes of people deemed to be at high risk of harm. Where a need is identified measures are arranged, such as sourcing accessible safety equipment or referring to a specific support service. Any disability a client may have will be considered for the security measures and advice would be provided.


“Many PCSO’s have also received training in crime prevention techniques and can provide a helpful first point of contact for the public in providing advice for any lower risk domestic circumstance.


“We have also just upgraded our website with improvements to the content, allowing it to be better navigable using a keyboard and the majority of the content is compatible with screen readers. However, we are always looking at ways we can further improve our services and any feedback from the d/Deaf community is always welcomed.”

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