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BSL Charter - Nottinghamshire Police - Videos 11-03-2015

Speech by BDA Chair - Dr Terry Riley OBE 

Text transcript: Being here today is all about working collaboratively and in partnership. As we all know we often have to say things over and over again and we feel we have been saying the same things for 20 years or more. This is the development time now. We all have a responsibility now, not to criticise if there is a misunderstanding but to offer support and solutions to the problems.

An example of this is when I worked for the BBC I went to Hendon Police Station in London to their training department. We spoke to the officer in charge who said all my staff are deaf aware and know what to do. They set up some simulations and one was myself and a colleague having a heated argument in BSL, the police officers came along and tried to step in but we would not let them, we continued this heated argument, the officers did not know how to intervene, they tried to ask if we were foreign and in the end tried to grab our wrists and hold on which is part of their police training, which we shrugged off and carried on, so then they handcuffed us behind our backs – doing this is part of their training to stop an argument or to get things under control but for Deaf people it is different, how would they know this?

This project is important, it is all about education, it is all about awareness, it is all about training and it is all about being open minded. We are not expecting all police officers to be fully trained interpreters. We have 2 officers here today who have passed level 2 BSL, Richard Martin is one of them, this is very important.  We are not expecting you all to be fluent signers but we do expect a good positive attitude, when we go into a Police station we don’t want to see a blank expression which makes us nervous but rather a willingness to help, a warm welcome and a smiley face that is all we want. We want the receptionists to be able to sign their name, signpost and open the avenues for communication.

The Deaf Community are now becoming empowered, you now have the power – use it – don’t abuse it!  It is very important that you know how to use that power, how to use the influence, as part of Nottingham Deaf Societies training on understanding procedures. You know you can’t blame people, you can’t say that this is a rubbish idea and needs to be scrapped, you need to change the way you work and this can be difficult. It might not be part of the way we work but you have to remember hearing culture and Deaf culture is different and do not follow the same rules e.g. in Deaf culture we stamp out feet to get someone’s attention but all this does is make hearing people jump so we must learn not to stamp our feet. If you think about making a complaint and you are aggressive – they will react aggressively.  I’m not saying be passive but you need to be more diplomatic.

I prefer to refer this to the domino effect, once you knock over the first one the rest will follow. I would like to thank everyone, the Chief Constable and all the staff that have made this possible, to Gloria for all her hard work within the Deaf community and to everyone here today.

Thank you.

Comments from Christine Monery

Text transcript: Today we have come together and sat and watched another BSL Charter being signed; importantly it was Nottinghamshire Police who has signed. It has been a fantastic event.

Personally in the past I hated the police, I found talking to them caused total communication breakdown.  A while ago I was persuaded by another member of the Deaf Community to deliver Deaf Awareness training to the police and look at where we are now, finally they have signed the BSL Charter which is fantastic. The first Police force to do so was Leicestershire Police and I praise them for this.

Now here in Nottingham we already have 5 BSL Charters signed and the Police makes it 6. I am really proud of the Police, it will take time to work together and we need to give them this time.

Comments from Margaret Mather 

Text transcript: Today has been very exciting.  A BSL Charter signing - WOW...

This means we can communicate with the Police - this makes 6 BSL Charters for Nottingham which is fantastic. I watched very intently to the proceedings which was very interesting. I hope this means that in the future this will improve communication with the Police.


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