Cleveland Police has launched a dynamic text messaging service specifically for deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people. The service has been designed and delivered by mobile messaging company Mediaburst, in conjunction with partner Teleware, and is rolling out after a successful pilot running since January 2008.
According to government statistics, over 9 million people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing and over 250,000 are profoundly deaf. Until the mobile came along, and SMS with it, deaf and speech-impaired people had great difficulty in contacting emergency services by themselves. They had to rely upon family and friends to report life issues or social misbehaviours on their behalf. Today, the deaf community is one of the most prolific users of SMS.
All that the deaf community in Cleveland Polices boroughs need do to report an incident or ask for assistance is to text the word POLICE to the dedicated shortcode 87202 giving their address and an explanation of the problem. The message is automatically converted into email and forwarded to Clevelands communication centre where incidents are recorded and actioned.
Mediabursts text messaging service is a welcome and very dynamic solution for Clevelands deaf community, says Mick Little, Acting Chief Inspector of Cleveland Polices Control Room. For the first time, deaf people can interact with Cleveland Police in near-real time.
Cleveland Police has issued a leaflet explaining how to use the new text service. The leaflet can be viewed here.