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Last Updated: Monday, 26 June 2006, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
Website offers sign language help
A screen grab from the police website showing a signer
The signing section offers answers to frequently asked questions
Information on how to report a crime or get information if you are deaf or hard of hearing has been posted on a police website in sign language.

Video clips in British sign language (BSL) show how to contact police, offer answers to common questions and how to contact Avon and Somerset police.

A police spokesman said many deaf people can not read English and use BSL as their primary language.

He said it allows BSL users to access the site.

Insp Tim Powell-Gill, who leads the police link officers for the deaf (PLOD) scheme, said: "Before we began this work, many people would ask how a sign language user would be able to communicate with a police without having to call a specialist interpreter.

"As part of PLOD we have seven officers with the capability to communicate in BSL and communicate with someone who is deaf and hard of hearing."

The force now aims to achieve the Louder Than Words charter mark and hopes to be one of the first forces in the UK to be officially recognised for its work with the deaf community.

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