In an emergency always call 999

Film launched to highlight ways of contacting police for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing

Posted on 15th February 2017

A British Sign Language (BSL) film has been launched to highlight the difference between emergency and non-emergency SMS numbers for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. 

The film shows different scenarios and gives advice on what is considered an emergency and which is not and how Deaf people or those hard of hearing can contact the police using SMS texts across our region. 

Robin Ash, the Empowerment Officer from the British Deaf Association (BDA), was successful in receiving funding from the Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioners Crime Prevention Grant.  

Over the last year he has worked together with Deaf volunteers from Derby and Chesterfield Deaf forums, with support from Derbyshire Constabulary PLOD Manager (Police Link Officer for People who are Deaf) Jane Birkin to produce the film.  

The film was directed and produced by a young volunteer from the British Deaf Association, Samuel Ash, who last year received a certificate from the Police and Crime Commissioner for his excellent work.

During the process, the constabulary's Deaf Advisory Group were consulted with and the films were showcased to the City and County Deaf forums and to a Deaf hate crime seminar held by the BDA in Derby last year.  

The feedback has been very positive.

Robin Ash, BDA Access and Inclusion Officer, said: "This project has been a huge learning curve for us all.  To work in partnership with so many organisations, to share experience's and ideas, to involve the cultural element of our language and how information is delivered, the role-play and working within guidelines has benefitted us all. Working in partnership with the Deaf community, for them to participate is key and for them to be involved in the process. 

We are very proud that we have used a young Deaf BDA volunteer for the film production; he is currently studying a film & television production course at University. He has done all the filming, editing and subtitling. The project is an excellent resource and will be able to support and empower the local Deaf community, to understand the difference in emergency and non-emergency situations, for them to develop confidence when contacting the police when needed."

Jane Birkin, PLOD Manager, explains: “When we are working within the Deaf community there is often confusion about which SMS number to use in emergencies and non-emergencies and it is hoped that the film will clarify the difference. We encourage people to share the film across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Nottinghamshire and beyond to encourage Deaf people to register their phones with the National SMS text service for use in emergencies and to make sure they have their local police SMS number recorded for non-emergencies.

Thank you to everyone involved for giving up their time and expertise to support this project. It is an excellent way to show how volunteers and partnership work can make a real difference.”

For more information head to our website ( or visit the Derbyshire Constabulary PLOD Facebook page. 

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.