The Derbyshire PLOD scheme, which creates a link between police and anyone who is affected by hearing and sight or speech loss, went live on February 1, 2018.
The scheme is known as PLOD (Police Link Officers for people who are Deaf) and is now available across Derbyshire and is for anyone who is Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or is Deaf and has sight/speech loss. The launch of the scheme is another step forward towards our efforts to provide communication equality with our Deaf and hard of hearing community.
PLOD is becoming nationally recognised is already in place in some other police forces, aiming to promote equal access and communication.
Derbyshire PLOD is made up of police officers, police community support officers, police staff and volunteers, who will be a point of contact between us and the public.
These people have received training in Deaf awareness, Deaf equality and have some communication skills in British Sign Language. All PLOD officers are learning British Sign Language up to a minimum of level two or above. The aim is to have around 20 PLOD officers distributed across the county in a variety of roles.
These officers will not replace officers who would usually deal with situations and they will not replace professional qualified interpreters. They will, however, be there to give extra information and advice, promote the understanding of Deaf awareness to their colleagues, and provide reassurance in public settings.
Peter Goodman, Derbyshire’s Chief Constable, said: “Derby has the largest Deaf community outside London, with over 1,600 British Sign Language users - thought to be three times the national average.
“I think it is really important that Derbyshire Constabulary does all it can to ensure that every person in our community feels safe and able to communicate with the police regardless of their background or personal circumstances.
“We are doing all we can to make contact with the police as easy as possible for everyone and modernising how we do that. Currently we have a text number on our website for the Deaf community to make initial contact and the introduction of PLOD officers aims to improve that communication through the whole experience.
“I am grateful to all those officers that have taken the time to obtain the skills required to make this scheme work and look forward to hearing some positive stories as a result.”
Jane Birkin, who manages the PLOD service, said: “We have been working towards this for some time and now our staff have some skills in British Sign Language and Deaf awareness, we want to ensure the public know we are doing everything we can to provide better communication access.”
Derbyshire Constabulary is proud to already have achieved the Action on Hearing Loss Charter mark ‘Louder than Words’, which we have had for more than seven years. We also have a Police Deaf Advisory group, which supports us with our Deaf Action Plan. One of the actions in the plan was to set up a PLOD service and make it available to everyone across Derbyshire.
If you need more information on how to contact us if you are Deaf please visit our Deaf or Hard of Hearing Help page.
Alternatively you can visit the PLOD Facebook page, Derbyshire Constabulary PLOD.