Force engages with deaf students

West Midlands Police officers have been returning to the classroom to find an alternative way of providing crime prevention advice to vulnerable members of the community.

Feb 7, 2018

West Midlands Police officers have been returning to the classroom to find an alternative way of providing crime prevention advice to vulnerable members of the community. The force is working alongside Walsall College and British Sign Language (BSL) experts to help spread safety tips to deaf students. Officers have already visited the college’s town centre campus to relay messages on personal safety and what constitutes a hate crime. Through a BSL interpreter and specialist deaf lecturer, they are able to get crime prevention points across and advice on how best to report an offence. PCs Simon Bradley and James Lander launched the new approach together with engagement and consultation officer Kevin Pitt. The officers have held a number of classes – which included question and answer sessions – and more are planned in the future. “We are committed to protecting all members of the community and a disability means you may feel more vulnerable,” said PC Bradley. “We are always thinking of better ways of engaging with people and we approached Walsall College around how we can improve communications with its deaf students. “With the assistance of a BSL interpreter we have managed to give them tips on how to stay safe and different types of crimes. “During the sessions the students have felt confident to participate and offer their own thoughts and highlight concerns. They have proven really successful and we are looking at how we may be able to expand upon this approach in the future.” Rachel Davies, head of Foundation Learning at Walsall College, added: “As a college, we strive to ensure our students develop the life skills to not only find employment and thrive in the workplace, but to keep themselves safe. “Working with West Midlands Police was a great opportunity to equip students with the tools to safeguard themselves and to identify situations in which they may feel unsafe. “We look forward to working with West Midlands Police in future to ensure these messages are passed onto our prospective students and young people across the Walsall borough.”

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