Nottinghamshire Police have today (Monday, September 5) become the latest force in the country to launch their Police Link Officer for Deaf people (PLOD) scheme.
The scheme is designed to promote and improve equal access to Nottinghamshire Police services for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing across Nottinghamshire.
Chief Constable, Sue Fish, said: “Last year, Nottinghamshire Police signed the British Sign Language Charter which highlighted our commitment as a Force to adapting the services we offer to ensure they are accessible to the communities we serve and to help build good relationships with the Deaf community.
“Earning the trust and confidence of the people in Nottinghamshire is one of our priorities as a Force and it is schemes like this that make it possible. I am really proud to launch this scheme and acknowledge the commitment of our PLOD officers to ensure this initiative continues to build accessible services for our communities.”
The Force have seven PLOD officers, four police officers and three PCSO’s, who will provide support, information and advice to the Deaf communities and promote the understanding of issues affecting Deaf people among the Force’s officers and staff.
Inspector Annie Yates, who heads up the project, said: “This is a really important opportunity for Nottinghamshire Police. This scheme helps to fulfil the pledges the Force signed under the British Sign Language Charter and we continue to work with our partners across Nottinghamshire to deliver improved outcomes for Deaf people.
“The PLOD officers will work within the Deaf communities across the whole county, providing support, advice and information on policing; the officers will attend regular beat surgeries and local Deaf community events.
“Although some of the PLOD officers can use British Sign Language (BSL), or are learning, it is important to remember that they cannot act as interpreters. If anyone from the Deaf community needs to contact us in an emergency, they can do so by using the Emergency SMS service.”
PCSO Laura Cooper, a PLOD officer, regularly attends the Nottingham Deaf Society.
Laura said: “I have been a PCSO since 2014 and really enjoy the role I play in the community, especially being involved in the Nottinghamshire Deaf Society. I regularly call into the centre on Wednesdays, sometimes just for informal chats and other times to give structured presentations, I have recently been doing some crime prevention sessions.
“Attending the Deaf Centre makes me accessible to the centre users, they can ask questions about policing matters and I am able to give advice or pass on any queries to the relevant beat teams in their area.
“I have been made very welcome at the Centre and hope that my presence provides reassurance that we are listening to the centre users needs and concerns and becoming a more accessible service.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to talk about my role and the work of Nottinghamshire Police, but equally it’s good to be able to share other conversations about everyday life, it’s all part of interacting with people to learn from their experiences.
“I am going to start learning BSL in September to help aid my communication with the centre users; I am really looking forward to learning this new skill, I think I will have plenty of chance to practise.”
For more information about our PLOD scheme, visit www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/accessibility where you can also find out more about other services the police offer, such as the emergency text messaging facility and the Pegasus scheme, to help make its services more accessible to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.