Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 08:15
POCKET-SIZED cards are being issued to police to help them communicate with non-English speaking victims of crime.
Derby Community Safety Partnership has supplied police officers in the city with 25 sets of 1,000 picture cards.
The partnership has spent £180 on the cards and they are being used by officers throughout the city.
The cards, called PocketComms, include pictures that relate to everyday items or actions and were designed by former soldier Jim Wyatt, who served in Afghanistan.
They include cartoon-style drawings which will show, for example, a car reversing into a person to enable the victim to tell the police immediately what has happened to them.
Nick Pitt, crime reduction manager at the partnership, said: "The community safety partnership has a wide remit across the city to make communities safer and stronger.
"An important part of our work is around community cohesion – ensuring that people from the diverse range of cultures and backgrounds feel safe and are able to contribute to the overall wellbeing of their communities.
"Language can be a very restricting barrier, particularly to the work of police officers. The PocketComms will support them in their work with witnesses and victims who do not speak English.
"We are confident that this will be a cost-effective way of breaking down language barriers that can prevent people communicating with the police at stressful times."
Last year, Derbyshire police dealt with people speaking 44 languages and officers had to call on interpreters 1,088 times.
Earlier this year, the Evening Telegraph reported that the force had identified 128 languages and dialects being spoken in the county.
It is hoped the cards, which are also being used in Sussex and Bognor Regis, will help police speed up communication with victims.
Chief Inspector Gary Parkin, is in charge of community safety for the Derbyshire force.
He said: "PocketComms cards are already popular with people travelling abroad.
"They will be a useful tool for our officers and community support officers who need to communicate quickly and efficiently with people who have witnessed an incident or who are victims of a crime.
"It is vital, for instance, that information about a robbery suspect is circulated quickly to officers on the ground so that an early arrest can be made and important forensic evidence is secured.