In support of Deaf Awareness Week (2–8 May), Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall is promoting local support services available to the deaf community and raising awareness of the importance of access to British Sign language (BSL) interpreters.
Many people with severe and profound hearing loss use BSL as their first language. They are often not able to access information in the traditional manner or understand written English, and therefore can be unaware of important information.
There are around 12 million people who are deaf or have hearing loss in the UK, which means that one in five adults are directly affected. Every day, it is likely that people meet someone with hearing difficulties, even though they may not be aware of it. This is why it is so important to raise awareness of the challenges, frustrations and the barriers they may face.
Peter McCall comments: “Deafness or loss of hearing at any age isolates individuals and can cut them off from community life. This is why providing better communication support and understanding for the deaf community and people that are hard-of-hearing, is essential.
“Part of my role is to be the voice of the community and that means that I have a duty to be the voice of every community represented in Cumbria.
“The recent Property Fund grant awarded to Cumbria Deaf Association will help to provide British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters at Police drop-in sessions. This will provide the opportunity for members of the deaf community to access support, receive information and ask local PCSOs questions about their safety.
“By having a BSL interpreter present at various police desks throughout the year, members of the deaf community will be able to communicate face to face with local officers and raise any topics or concerns they may have.
“We all have a role to play in helping to promote the importance of social inclusion around the deaf community. It’s important to create a network of support and help to arrange situations where specialist help can be accessed to help keep everyone safe.”
A spokesperson from Cumbria Deaf Association comments: “We are proud to be able to support this vital initiative. The Deaf community face communication barriers in every aspect of their lives. Providing access to this crucial service goes a long way to breaking down these barriers. We would like to congratulate the PCC on this unprecedented step towards inclusion and community safety and look forward to working together in the future.
More information about dates and venues of Police desks with Cumbria Deaf Association: