Our College students were recently given a unique insight into policing across Devon, including how the Deaf and hard of hearing can seek help in an emergency.

A group of 13 College students enjoyed a tour of the Armed Response Unit and Control Room at the Devon and Cornwall Police Middlemoor Headquarters in Exeter to learn about how Deaf people can register their mobile phone in order to use an emergency services text service to get help.

Exeter Deaf Academy College Deputy Head, Geoff Davey, worked with Devon Diverse Communities Team Leader, Sergeant Sally Kingdon to facilitate the visit. Sgt Kingdon explained how the Deaf and hard of hearing can SMS or text the police on 999, or 67101 for non-emergencies.

She said,
“We wanted this visit to help build students’ trust and confidence in the police. By taking Deaf students to see our control room, they were able to observe how it works, so if they use SMS or text to contact us, they can visualise how we respond. Their visit to the Armed Response Unit also opened their eyes to the different roles that we do. This will go some way to help break down barriers, because they can see first-hand that the police are approachable. They also viewed our Armed Response vehicles, met the officers in their body armour and had photos taken with them.”

Geoff added,
“We were able to see first-hand how emergency calls are dealt with. The students were surprised by how busy it is. We also visited the Armed Response Unit and were able to find out how the police headquarters operates and what policing really involves.”

Geoff said the visit achieved the Academy’s aim of encouraging students to build good links with the local community and raise their awareness of the wider working world.

He said,
“This visit gave our students a real insight into policing. It also encourages them to see the police as being approachable and raises their awareness about their own personal security.”

The students’ visit is a further boost to the Academy’s positive links with Devon and Cornwall Police, including Sgt Kingdon’s previous visits to the Academy to discuss personal safety, how to contact police and issues around hate crime.

During their visit, students also learned about the Honest Truth, a road safety charity, which is working to reduce anti-social driving, and the number of people aged 17 to 24 killed or injured on the roads. The website offers a lifesaving mobile app and advice for new drivers, parents and information about approved driving instructors.