Deaf use text messaging to report crimes

West Midlands Police, the UK’s second largest police force, is using technology from mobile messaging specialist XIAM to extend its services to deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired people.

XIAM, which sells mobile messaging application platforms to network operators, will use its technology to enable people to notify the police of crimes or their need of assistance using text messages. The introduction of the service follows a research study by Birmingham’s Institute of the Deaf, which found that 98% of hearing-impaired people used text messaging and 85% would like to be able to contact the police in this way.

Max Corney, IT Communications Manager with West Midlands Police, said: “The existing methods of contacting the police were clearly unsuitable for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired, who often met with frustration when trying to contact the police or other emergency services. Most forces offer a Minicom system or similar, but what about those instances where the person is out and about and witnesses a crime or serious road traffic collision and needs to contact us urgently? Minicom and similar systems only provide limited flexibility, unlike text messaging. We hope that by offering text messaging we can provide a high quality service to a large group of people who, in the past, have had real difficulty in making contact with their local police.” Colm Doherty, Vice President of Global Sales at XIAM, added: “We are very impressed by West Midland Police’s innovative and beneficial use of XIAM’s technology. It is always very interesting to see new and useful ways in which mobile messaging can make a positive difference to people’s lives. I am delighted with this deployment and hope that it is a success for both West Midlands police and for the end users of the service. We are keen to see the widespread deployment of such services and are currently developing initiatives to introduce similar services to other police forces, both inside and outside the United Kingdom.”


This is a simple and cost-effective way of connecting hearing- and speech-impaired people with a key public service. It is refreshing to see wireless technology made accessible to those who might otherwise be unable to use these services .

Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.

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