A NEW service aimed at helping those who are deaf or hard of hearing has been launched at Motherwell police office.
Officers are now able to use the Sign on Screen system, which provides a link between those with hearing impairments and those who do not understand sign language through an online interpreter.
The service, which has been launched with the support of the Deaf Connections group, can be used at the office, or as a link between the office terminal and a user in their home, or anywhere they have access to the system.
It will be used to allow deaf people to engage with the police on an ad hoc basis, for example reporting a crime or making enquiries, but is not intended for use in legal situations where appropriately qualified personnel will continue to be present.
Chief Superintendent Grant Manders, from Safer Communities, said: “It is fundamentally important that we are able to communicate effectively with everyone we come into contact with.
“I am delighted that the introduction of Sign on Screen will help us do that with members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
“We have worked closely with Deaf Connections to ensure that the right training is delivered to officers and staff and hope that those within the deaf community will feel more confident when they come into contact with Strathclyde Police.”
Morag Donnelly, commercial services manager with Deaf Connections, added: “We are delighted to be working with Strathclyde Police in delivering deaf awareness training to officers and providing our online interpreting service, Sign on Screen.
“We are committed to enabling deaf people to participate fully in the community, to make equality and fairness a normal feature of their everyday lives.
“We believe this proactive and inclusive approach from Strathclyde Police will help make this possible.
“We would encourage more organisations who deal with members of the public to consider their communication methods for deaf and hard of hearing people.”