We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

999 BSL service launched

A new service has been launched enabling deaf BSL users to make calls to the emergency services.

999 BSL is the first Emergency Video Relay Service in British Sign Language (BSL). 

As of today, it is available to users via an app but can also be accessed as a web-based platform - both of which feature an easy to use button ‘Call 999 BSL now’. It is a free service and available 24/7. 

The user will first be connected with a remote BSL interpreter who will call the 999 operator through a landline. They will then support the user through the emergency call, relaying the conversation through to the emergency operator. 

It comes as Ofcom set out in January the need for communication providers to make an emergency BSL services available. 

The provider of the service is company Sign Language Interactions who will work with supplier BT. 

The service has been commended and a link retweeted by various forces and PCCs today. 

Lincolnshire’s lead on disability, Chief Superintendent Diane Coulson said: “I really welcome the introduction of the new video relay service for British Sign Language users, this is long overdue and will provide a vital service to those who only communicate in BSL to be able to independently contact the emergency services should they need to.”

Previously, forces had taken different approaches to accommodate BSL users. Dorset’s advice, for example, suggests three options; to ask a hearing person to dial 999, to use a Typetalk dial, or to visit the ‘emergencysms’ website. 

Meanwhile, Avon and Somersets suggest texts, asking a hearing person, but they also have an option to ask for a Police Link Officer for Deaf people (PLOD) - a scheme specific to the force made up of officers, PCSOs and staff members. 

Today’s launch will mean there is a standard approach for BSL users to access emergency services. 

You can find out more here. 

Leave a Comment
In Other News
Devon and Cornwall acquire ‘ultimate hot hatch’ cop car
‘Staggering’ increase in time taken to respond to 101 calls
Forces’ social media desks are being used to take pressure off 999 system
More News