26 September 2023

Police polish up communication skills

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Reporting crime is to be easier for people in northern Melbourne as the Preston police offices have successfully completing a program learning how to converse with people with communication difficulties.

Congratulating the officers of Preston Station, Victoria Police said they were the third station Statewide to gain special accreditation from Scope, the disability service provider, to help people unable to speak or who had difficulty getting their message across.

Victoria Police said the 16-month accreditation program saw general duties police and detectives from the crime investigation unit take part in comprehensive training led by a speech pathologist and trainer.

“Research shows such issues can affect one in seven people at some stage in their life,” the Police said

“Preston Police Station, which operates 24 hours a day, was awarded the nationally recognised Communication Access accreditation symbol at a special event,” it said.

“The symbol informs visitors that staff are able to communicate successfully with people with communication difficulties and have special tools available to help understand what people are telling them.”

Victoria Police said that following the accreditation program, officers’ skills were examined by a qualified communications access assessor with lived experience of a communication disability.

It said officers who’d completed the training would wear a communication access pin to help people identify police who had the skills and strategies to communicate effectively with people who had communication difficulties.

The only other stations in Victoria, Box Hill and Geelong, received Communication Access accreditation in 2019.

Victoria Police said the initiative followed the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission’s 2014 Beyond Doubt Report which documented the experiences of people living with a disability and how they reported crime to police.

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