§ Mr. Levitt
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if his Department will issue guidance to police forces on the importance of recording on video interviews with criminal suspects whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language; 
(2) what plans he has to issue guidance about improving communication between deaf people and the police following the research report by the Home Office Police Research Group, Police and Deaf People: A Lack Of Communication. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The report "Police and Deaf People: A Lack of Communication" was written by a police officer and published under the Police Research Award Scheme (PRAS) run by the Home Office. All PRAS publications carry a disclaimer that the recommendations are the views of the author and not necessarily those of the Home Office nor of the author's force. The report has been distributed to all United Kingdom police forces. It is for individual chief officers to decide whether the recommendations should be taken up.
It is open to chief officers to implement the recommendation in the report to video record interviews with deaf suspects where they have video recording equipment and where the suspect consents to this.
The Codes of Practice issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which regulate the conduct of police interviews with suspects, contain a number of safeguards for suspects who are deaf. These include the requirement for an interpreter and for a contemporaneous written note of the interview to be made as well as an audio tape recording.
Home Office seminars are due to take place in Spring 1999 for key police personnel about the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, including dealing with people with hearing difficulties.