Summary of the report

Password: northantsbsl

The aim of this consultation was to ascertain how aware the Northamptonshire Deaf community are of the services and provision of Northamptonshire Police and to aid understanding of how accessible the Police are to Deaf people.

The surveying method carried out by Deaf Hub CIC was to conduct a series of drop-in consultation events held across 7 areas throughout Northamptonshire, these being Kettering, Northampton, Corby, Daventry, Towcester and Brackley. The drop-in times were from 2pm till 8pm to allow those who work an opportunity to attend the sessions and participate in the consultation.

BSL and deaf/blind interpreters were present to translate the survey questions so that members of the deaf community could give their views using their own language.  The survey covers all age groups, family members and friends.

The survey was also available online for those who could not attend the drop-in consultation days to take part in the consultation.

The consultation achieved 68 respondents from across the county with a wide range of ages. The survey covered seven geographical areas of Northamptonshire.  This represents the diverse locations in terms of where Deaf people live throughout the county and enabled the widest possible access to the consultation.

Of significance, whilst Corby has some of the largest numbers of members of the d/Deaf community, it was found that the majority openly refused to attend the consultation sessions stating that ‘they have not had good experiences of the police and therefore did not wish to share their views’.   Whilst this was disappointing, it is worthwhile noting this reluctance to participate in the survey.

This highlights an area of the community that is not currently actively engaged with Northamptonshire Police.

The 68 respondents had the following age and gender profile.

 Age breakdown is as follows:

o 18% were aged 18 to 29

o 39% were aged 30 to 49

o 23% were aged 50 to 64

o 16% being aged 65 or over

 Gender Breakdown

52% were Male and 48% were female

Summary of Consultation answers

Main statistics from the questions

The common messages are:

  • Only 1 of the 68 BSL users had used VRS
  • 13% of respondents said they had used the Emergency SMS
  • 15% of those questioned were aware of Sign Video (VRS)
  • 56% stated they had contacted Northants Police of which 45% was in the case of emergency
  • 36% preferred Face to Face communication, the second most popular was SMS (26%). 9% said they would like to use VRSI if they needed to
  • 19% said that they would not like to use VRS
  • When asked if they felt comfortable contacting the police, 46% said ‘Yes’ and 54% said ‘No’
  • When asked if they had used similar services from other service providers: 26% said ‘Yes’ and 74% said ‘No’

Common issues raised:

  • Northants Police need to have a better understand of what the deaf community needs
  • Simple typed responses from Police officers who respond to our dedicated SMS service
  • Direct telephone contact to Police officers and the use of ‘Facetime’
  • Requests for Police officers to be trained in BSL (PLOD was broadly accepted but there was lack of publicity) and thought a regional wide approach was positive
  • Concerns over the lack of 24 hour emergency BSL interpreters
  • Lack of local interpreters.  It was stated Devon and Cornwall being a good example of Interpreter provision
  • Lack of awareness of Deaf/Blind People
  • Lack of awareness of other initiatives such as our Keep Safe Card and Dedicated SMS services
  • More visible PCSO’s and for them to be PLODs
  • Police Website not accessible
  • Not enough local interpreters who recognise local BSL dialect
  • A complete lack of understanding for Deaf/Blind People


1) Improve relationships with the Northamptonshire d/Deaf community by:

  • Arranging coffee morning or ‘Drop In’s with the local d/Deaf community using PLOD trained officers and Deaf Hub to learn more about the needs of the local d/Deaf community.
  • Working with Deaf Hub to find help find out why many in the d/Deaf community don’t want to engage.
  • Identifying suitable groups on Facebook with assistance from Leicestershire Police PLOD. Also contact the LGBT Deaf Northants group
  • Police awareness for the d/Deaf community to understand how Police officers are trained and why they react in the way they do

2) Website

Northants Police will look into how to make the site more accessible for people who are blind/visually impaired, dyslexic, deaf and have a learning disability.

3) BSL trained Staff (PLOD)

Develop a small cohort of highly trained PLOD officers up to Level 6 BSL rather than a large number of officers trained to a lower level.

4) Communications

Identify key sites used by the d/Deaf community for information and support and put our contact details on these including information on other services such as:

  • Dedicated SMS Service
  • Keep Safe Card
  • Sign Video VRS Service