MP for Hemel Hempstead backs new 999 service for British Sign Language users

The service launched this month.

Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 2:40 pm

A new 999 service has launched to make it easier for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with emergency personnel.

Sir Mike Penning, the MP for Hemel Hempstead, has expressed his support for the new service.

He said: “This great news. BSL is for so many their only language and our emergency services coming forward with this new service could easily save lives. I hope others will soon bring forward plans to use BSL.”

Sir Mike Penning says that the launch is great news.

999BSL is a free-to-use video relay service that can be used online or on the app.

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People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use 999BSL to speak to a BSL interpreter during an emergency.

The interpreter will then call 999, using a landline, to relay the conversation to the emergency services operator.

To use the service, users need to open the app or visit the website, then press the red button to video call and communicate with a BSL interpreter.

Strategic lead for disability Superintendent Craig Flint said: “999BSL helps dismantle barriers faced by people who are deaf or hard of hearing by making it easier for them to communicate with the police and other emergency services.”

He added: “It is an important step forward in our journey to becoming truly inclusive and as a police force we are continually looking at new ways to make our service more accessible for those living with disabilities.”

More information about the BSL service can be found here.