POLICE officers and staff from across Chester and Ellesmere Port have been awarded their level 1 British Sign Language certificate from West Cheshire College.
Nine police officers and staff from the Western Area were presented with their awards on November 17 following a 30 week course run at Blacon police station by Andrew Mayers from the college.
PC Stephen Hannam of the Chester Inner Neighbourhood Policing Unit, PC Jane Heron of the Chester Inner Neighbourhood Policing Unit, PC Amy Beaumont from Ellesmere Port Neighbourhood Policing Unit, DC Louise Price from the Public Protection Unit, DC Nadine Sturgess from CID, Help Desk Officer Emma Williams, Logistics Officer Lauren Hoines, PCSO Mary Didsbury from Ellesmere Port Neighbourhood Policing Unit and PCSO Sam Holding from the Chester Outer Neighbourhood Policing Unit all completed the course to give them a better understand of the deaf community’s needs.
The group was also awarded certificates from Cheshire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable, Ian Wiggett, after completing the course in their own time. They also attended the Deaf Social Club in South View Road, Chester, on a regular basis to improve their skills.
he nine students paid the majority of the fees themselves, with a small contribution coming form the force’s area training budget. They have now started a course to gain the Level 2 British Sign Language certificate which will improve their use of the language.
Western Area Training Manager, Dawn Wright, said: “Having staff and police officers who can use sign language is extremely beneficial for the western area. The fact that this group have chosen to study for this qualification in their own time shows their dedication to providing a service to the community.
“Some of them have already used their skills to communicate with members of the deaf community as part of their role within the police.”