Amanda Blakeman, Deputy Chief Constable of Gwent Police and Vice Chair of the Centre has collaborated with forces from across the UK to produce a video to promote inclusion for the deaf community.
Here Amanda tells us more about how she became involved in the project and where the idea came from.
"I have been so proud to work alongside front line colleagues and members of our deaf communities to bring this project together, especially within disability history month. As disability lead for policing inclusion is really important to me. Alongside so many, I have followed Rose and Giovanni’s Strictly Come Dancing story over the past few weeks. I think we have all been inspired by the way Rose has allowed us to step into her world and appreciate the reality, for not only her, but the 11 million members of our communities, across the UK, who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Rose and Giovanni’s ‘silent dance’ in the middle of Clean Bandits ‘symphony’ touched so many of us and left me feeling the need to show our determination to achieve inclusion. My idea was simple – translate their song into sign, with as many disciplines across policing and locations over our four nations as we could reach, each representative signing a line. I am lucky to have the support of so many committed and determined colleagues. Working with my corporate communications team, Inspector Emma Gilbert from Greater Manchester, who is at the forefront of deaf access, our lead for disability in Gwent Police, Chief Inspector Steve Drayton and Colin Thomson a trainer in British Sign Language who translates deaf awareness signed songs, we set to work. Courtesy of Colin and Emma’s translated lines and our smart phones, each section was interpreted to give a clear message about inclusion, friendship and access.
We simply wanted to show our commitment and give policing the confidence to reach out, not being afraid of not being absolutely perfect but in doing so, being accessible. It was not difficult to get forces on board and with a small video clip of their section, the recorded pieces came back in very quickly - in fact we were quickly oversubscribed!!
I have a simple view that inclusion creates happiness and is powered by thoughtfulness, care and kindness. I hope our video demonstrates just that and gives all communities the confidence that we want to improve and learn and together and we can make a real difference. The views and comments on the social media sites we have shared the video on have demonstrated the support our communities have for policing." DCC Amanda Blakeman
You can watch the amazing video below.