Gwent Police community support officer (CS0) to support deaf community in new role
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CSO Wilkinson is studying British Sign Language and hoping to set up a new support network in Blaenau Gwent.
As a community engagement CSO for the force, Julieanne Wilkinson is passionate about ensuring all residents in Gwent feel that their concerns are taken on board, and that people are confident that they can go to Gwent Police for support when they need to.
Her role involves forging positive relationships between Gwent Police and local communities, increasing awareness around community support groups and providing crime prevention advice.
Having spent over 30 years with the force, Julieanne has plenty of experience in supporting local policing teams and supporting victims of crime, and her passion for inclusivity and engagement has led her to this new role.
“As an engagement officer for Blaenau Gwent,” said Julieanne, “I feel very strongly about – as the force do – being as inclusive as we can possibly be by providing services to all members of society.
“This includes supporting and safeguarding the deaf and hard of hearing – by making residents feel able to approach us without the fear of being misunderstood or unsupported.
“I’m currently studying British Sign Language (BSL) and hoping that more and more people in Gwent know of the local networks in place to help them, and that their local police force are here to respond to reports of crime – whether that be a neighbourhood crime like burglary, a vehicle crime or a hate crime.”
It was not until 2003 that BSL became an official minority language in the United Kingdom, and CSO Wilkinson recently spent the day at Welsh Council for Deaf People (WCDP) in Pontypridd to learn about the training and support services they offer people in Wales.
“The WCDP support deaf clubs in Wales,” explained Julieanne, “helping deaf people with things like making health appointments and paying their bills over the phone.
“They also run BSL courses and run cybercrime training for deaf people.
“While there isn’t currently a club in Blaenau Gwent, I’m looking to set up a new group with the help of WCDP.”
CSO Wilkinson added: “Last year, I found out that I’m dyslexic. Since then, I’ve really appreciated the support I’ve received from Gwent Police, who’ve put several things in place for me to help me do my job to the best of my ability.
“I want to mirror this support in our community, and let people with disabilities know that Gwent Police and partners are there for them when they need them.”
For more information on Julieanne’s role in Blaenau Gwent, and to express interest in the proposed deaf club in Blaenau Gwent, email [email protected].