A Buxton PCSO is taking a course in sign language so she can better communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
PCSO Rachael Blackley from the Buxton Town Safer Neighbourhood Team has recently enrolled on a British Sign Language course as part of the PLOD (Police link officers for people who are deaf) scheme.
She is one of the first PCSOs in the High Peak to take on the training and will act as a friendly policing face to the Deaf Community in Buxton whilst out on patrol.
She said: “I really wanted to get involved with PLOD and begin to learn sign language so that I can better communicate with our residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“I am currently studying BSL Level 1 and it has already proved priceless. PCSO Linda Cook and I recently visited a group of students with learning disabilities at the University of Derby’s Buxton campus to offer safety advice. Some of the group communicated with sign language and it was a fantastic opportunity to test my new skills.”
Sergeant Denis Murphy from the Buxton Town Safer Neighbourhood Team added: “People who are deaf or hard of hearing are a group that can often be hard for the police to reach. Being deaf can make some individuals feel isolated and vulnerable so it’s important to let them know that we are working hard to improve our skills and help break down any barriers to help us to better communicate.”
Jane Birkin PLOD Manager added: “We are very pleased that we will have people such as Rachael in our more rural areas.”
To find out more about contacting the police if you are deaf or hard of hearing click here.