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Manchester Police Launch Sign Interpretation Service

May 2016

Language ,

Sign Language

Earlier this month, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched SignVideo, a new website to allow deaf people to report crimes online.

The new website, developed by London-based development agency Hakura, instantly connects deaf users with an interpreter via the camera on their smartphone, tablet or laptop.

After taking the caller’s details, the interpreter will pass information onto GMP’s call handling team where it enters the normal workflow.

Greater Manchester Police produced a video to introduce the new service. You can view it below.

Before the introduction of SignVideo, deaf residents in Manchester were forced to report crimes in person with an officer and sign interpreter present. This is obviously hugely inconvenient for people who have regular commitments.

Speaking to the press, Assistant Chief Constable, Garry Shewan, said:

“The deaf community face many challenges every day when communicating and this new service enhances the ways in which people can access policing services.

“SignVideo will help people whose preferred or only method of communication is via British Sign Language get in touch with us – a vital service for many members of our community.

“It also shows our commitment to tailoring our services to meet the demands of the people that use it.”

Managing director of SignVideo, Mark Hudson, had an extremely positive outlook for the service. He said:

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Greater Manchester Police to provide video relay services to their 101 service for deaf BSL users.

“We hope other UK police forces will now follow the lead of GMP in providing inclusion and equality for the BSL population, by making themselves more accessible to the UK Deaf BSL community as a whole.”

Considering Manchester’s incredibly diverse population, it’s incredibly encouraging to see a major organisation actively improving accessibility and access to its services. Hopefully, police forces will follow GMP’s lead.


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