TO MARK deaf awareness week, Gwent Police have reminded residents of the initiatives they have to help prevent those who are deaf or hard of hearing, becoming a victim of crime.

The force have nine members of staff who are BSL trained, who are able to meet and sign with residents who need to speak to police. In an emergency, people can use the national 999 SMS text service which is for anyone who may find it difficult to communicate over the telephone.

The Gwent text messaging service is being launched, which will now be for non-emergencies, as Deaf communities told the force they would like a 101 equivalent that they could use.

Superintendent Marc Budden, disability champion for Gwent Police, said: “We have worked hard over the last few years to improve accessibility for members of our communities who are deaf or hard of hearing.”