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Hampshire employs six PAIT scheme interpreters for deaf community

New resource will add to work of 21 PLOD officers who work across force

Hampshire has six new Police Approved Interpreters and translators (PAIT) who are able to support deaf people who come into contact with officers.

The PAIT scheme was introduced in October 2020 by the National Police Chiefs Council and compliments the work of the twenty-one Police Link Officers for Deaf people (PLOD officers) who already work across the force.

The six new interpreters are provided by Gosport based company Lipspeaker UK. The NRCPD (National Registers of Communications Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people) are registered and vetted to assist victims, witnesses, and suspects.

British Sign Language (BSL) and English Interpreters are hearing people who interpret from spoken English to BSL and vice versa. BSL is the first or preferred language of an estimated 70,000 Deaf people in the UK and BSL was recognised by the Government as a language in its own right in March 2003. BSL is a visual-gestural language, with its own grammar and syntax, which are completely different from the grammatical structure of English.

In addition, two of the six interpreters are also Lipspeakers - hearing people who have been professionally trained to be easy to lipread. Lipspeakers reproduce clearly the shapes of the words and the natural rhythm and stress used by the speaker. They also use facial expression, gesture and, if requested, finger spelling, to aid the lipreader’s understanding. This practice is known as ‘Lipspeaking’.

Lipspeakers are used to support deaf people who do not use British Sign Language and who lipread as their primary means of communication.

Detective Chief Inspector Gabe Snuggs, force lead for Deaf Access said: “We’re already really lucky to have the expertise of our twenty-one Link officers who, as well as providing communication support for deaf people when reporting matters to police, can advise our investigators and other teams like Response and Patrol as to when an approved interpreter may be able to help someone that they have come into contact with.

“Having a local provider to work in partnership with is also important as the interpreters will be aware of challenges that the deaf community may be facing in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight, which will ensure that the support we offer is bespoke to our residents.

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