Language & Communication13th October 2013

PC Jonathan Handy - A Signing Police Officer

The BBC unveiled a police officer learning BSL as part of the Police 24/7 programme. PC Handy tells us why

by Sarah Lawrence

Every now and again, you hear a story that makes you smile. The BBC documentary Police 24/7, has uncovered one such story, with the producer of the programme, Samantha Rosie, describing it as a police officer going over and above what you would expect.

Samantha was talking about Police Constable Jonathan Handy from the Neighbourhood Policing Team at Pontypridd Police Station. These teams are responsible for getting in tune with the local community, so that they deal with grass roots issues that affect people's quality of life. PC Handy has taken that responsibility to heart.

In an interview with the officer, PC Handy told SL First Magazine that he realised there was a significant Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in Pontypridd. He said the police had found it difficult to talk to people within this community on a day-to-day, informal basis, and he wanted to do something about it. Since then PC Handy has been learning British Sign Language (BSL), and he now uses what he has learned to talk more effectively to the community.

The officer has been learning BSL at the Mission for the Deaf in Pontypridd, and even being there will have raised the trust and confidence of the community. Despite being the one making the effort, PC Handy talks glowingly about the help and support he has been given by the community, helping him to practice his BSL in a safe. non-judgemental environment.

PC Handy, who featured in the Police 24/7 programme, recalls having mixed emotions about taking part. However, it has served to bring to our attention his actions and the steps he has taken to demonstrate proper care and consideration for the community he polices. PC Handy believes there are fantastic and invaluable opportunities for all police forces in having operational staff who can use BSL.

The response from the Deaf Community, PC Handy's colleagues and his senior command team, have all been positive, with everyone seeing benefits. The police have also seen an increase in the number of Deaf people attending community consultative events, and that can only be a good thing. We applaud PC Handy, and we also thank the BBC for bringing us the story.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / Language & Communication

13th October 2013