Deaf man ‘let down’ by police after assault as no interpreter available
Adrian Cracknell, of Long Road, was thrown to the ground whilst walking in Wensum Park. Once on the gorund the attacker tried to take his wallet.
He did not hear his attacker approaching because he is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL).
Mr Cracknell was able to fend off the attacker who got away without stealing anything.
The 66-year-old was “badly shaken”, bruised and left with a cut on his arm after the incident on August 5. Mr Crackwell’s neighbour took him to Bethel Street Police Station to make a statement, but on arrival there were no BSL interpreters.
Mr Cracknell said: “When I arrived at the station and the police hadn’t been able to get an interpreter I felt bad and very upset.
“I need an interpreter, I have to understand what is happening and to explain what happened to me.”
Mr Cracknell had to communicate with officers by writing down everything down. But this was still a struggle as English is not his first language as he has spent most of his life using BSL.
He added: “I was shaken after the attack and disappointed there was no interpreter. I was told they only work Monday to Friday. This made me very angry and upset. Police need to have an interpreter working 24/7.”
Police say that the use of interpreters is outsourced and that they tried to get Mr Cracknell one but none were available.
A police spokesman said: “Officers have investigated this incident and carried out a number of enquiries, including obtaining a written statement from the victim from the outset.
“Norfolk police relies on sourcing interpreters from an external organisation and an appointment was made for an interpreter at a later date.
“The victim raised some concerns about the delay at the time; however, following communication with him about the difficulties in sourcing interpreters the matter was resolved.”
The incident comes as campaigners push for BSL to be taught in schools as a GCSE. Education secretary, Damian Hinds, sent a letter to one campaigner saying he would “consider” it.