Police Using PocketComms To Help Non-English Speakers

Picture Cards Used To Help Non-English Speakers

Policeman using picture cards to speak to lady

ARUN officers are being issued with picture cards to help them communicate with non-English speakers.

The idea is the brainchild of District Partnership and Performance Sgt Danny West. He said: "I saw 'Pocket Comms' being advertised as a product aimed at people travelling abroad attempting to cope with a foreign language barrier.

"I immediately saw the product's potential for police use, particularly on Arun where there is a significant Eastern European community.

"The product's inventor, Jim Wyatt, came up with the idea when he served with the Army in Afghanistan and was confronted daily with a language barrier. Being an artist he reached for his sketch pad because pictures are universally understood.

"I believe that it will also prove useful for PCs and PCSOs in their roles within the ever changing and expanding communities they police."

Pocket Comms is a collection of over a thousand drawings held on small cards and relate to everyday items or actions.

Danny anticipates that they can also be used with the very young or very elderly and for people with disabilities or illnesses that affect communication.

The cards are being issued primarily to Neighbourhood Specialist Teams for a trial period. If successful, a specific police version could be developed tailored to the areas of communication that feature most regularly when officers are dealing with the public.

http://www.sussex.police.uk/news_feed/index.asp?id=24702

PocketComms in action

Dead simple and easy to use, an essential piece of kit when traveling.
S Kelly, Plymouth
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