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Sign from above

UK cop thrills deaf Israeli tourists at queen’s front door

Mounted officer PC Hounsome displays sign language skills as she explains to visitors about Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of a Metropolitan Police officer using sign language to communicate with deaf Israeli tourists outside Buckingham Palace on October 3, 2021. (Facebook)
Screen capture from video of a Metropolitan Police officer using sign language to communicate with deaf Israeli tourists outside Buckingham Palace on October 3, 2021. (Facebook)

A UK mounted police officer drew accolades from the Metropolitan Police Service on Sunday after she chatted with a group of Israeli tourists, without saying a word.

The officer, who was on duty outside Buckingham Palace in London, used sign language to offer helpful information to the tourists, who were deaf, and responded in kind.

A video of the exchange was caught on camera, apparently by another mounted police officer.

The Metropolitan Police posted the clip on its Facebook page.

“PC Hounsome utilized her sign language skills when communicating with a lovely group of tourists visiting London from Israel,” the Met wrote.

“They had come along to watch the Guard Change at Buckingham Palace and meet our wonderful police horses,” the force said.

PC Hounsome utilised her sign language skills when communicating with a lovely group of tourists visiting London from Israel ????They had come along to watch the Guard Change at Buckingham Palace and meet our wonderful police horses ????????????

Posted by Metropolitan Police Service on Sunday, October 3, 2021

By Tuesday the video post had been watched over 460,000 times times and received over 1,000 comments that were overwhelmingly in praise of police.

The Changing of the Guard ceremony outside the palace, which is Queen Elizabeth II’s official London residence, is a popular tourist attraction.

Anat Landau, a sign-language translator, told The Times of Israel that Hounsome seemed to be explaining to the Israelis that they needed to wait a few more minutes for the ceremony to start and that the event would last about 15 minutes.

Landau noted that there are various sign languages used around the world and that the British system is different from the one used in Israel, although there are some symbols in common.

Hounslow indicated to the Israelis that she was having trouble communicating with them, but also made sure to express that she was smiling at the situation, Landau said.

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