Category Archives: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: World Autism Awareness Week 2018

Bristol, UK: The UK National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is delighted to announce our programme for World Autism Awareness Week, from 26th March to 2nd April 2018. Pioneered by the National Autistic Society, WAAW is a chance aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism – and others living with autism – face every day.

This year we will be focusing on the staff who work in policing in the UK who either have a diagnosis themselves or who have friends and family on the autism spectrum. We have guest blogs from police officers who have autism, and we’ll be publishing an article from JPMorgan Chase, a great example of an innovative autism-friendly employer. We’ll be putting up new blogs throughout they week, and we will be active on Twitter and other social media. Look for us using the hashtag #WAAW.

Autism awareness has come a long way, but there’s still more to be done. We want policing to be seen as a career of choice for autistic people by highlighting the significant contribution made by those with autism to keep people safe. We also want to help the autistic community as a whole to better understand the role of the police, to ensure that autistic people have a positive experience when they come into contact with us.

About us: The NPAA is an independent body supporting UK police officers, staff and volunteers who are affected by autism spectrum condition (ASC), Asperger syndrome, and other neurodiverse conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and depression – either personally or as carers for family members. We welcome all police personnel with a personal or professional interest in these conditions.

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Avon & Somerset Constabulary and ‘Max’ incident

Bristol, UK: The National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is aware of the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (now the Independent Office for Police Conduct) into the interaction between Avon & Somerset Constabulary and an adult male referred to as ‘Max’ (name changed to protect his identity) in 2015, in which a Taser electroshock weapon was discharged. Max has an autism spectrum condition and an associated learning disability.

The NPAA maintains that force should only be used by police against vulnerable adults and children as an absolute last resort. However, we recognise that in some situations, use of force may be necessary to protect members of public, officers and the individual themselves. In this particular case, an officer made a rapid decision to deploy Taser based on Max’s age, physical profile and behaviour – this use of force was found to be proportionate following an investigation by the IPCC.

Having autism is not an excuse for criminal or anti-social behaviour, and we recognise that police officers are often asked to make very quick decisions in difficult circumstances. However The NPAA has always advocated that autistic people are vulnerable, and should be treated as such by the police and criminal justice agencies regardless of their age, circumstances or station in life.

Current estimates suggest that there may be up to a million adults and children on the autism spectrum in the UK. That means that almost every frontline police officer in the country will come into contact with someone with autism at some point in their career. We are pleased that Avon & Somerset Constabulary are making improvements to the way in which autistic people are dealt with, and we will continue to work with the Force to implement changes to reflect this.

The NPAA works with all UK police forces to design and deliver training for frontline officers in how to recognise the patterns of behaviour and traits that come with autism, and we continue to support those within the law enforcement community whose lives are touched by it.

About us: The NPAA is an independent body supporting UK police officers, staff and volunteers who are affected by autism spectrum condition (ASC), Asperger syndrome, and other neurodiverse conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and depression – either personally or as carers for family members. We welcome all police personnel with a personal or professional interest in these conditions.

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Marcus Potter and Norfolk Constabulary

Bristol, UK: The UK National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is aware of recent interactions between Norfolk Constabulary and Marcus Potter, leading to the recent remand in custody of Mr. Potter for breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order and subsequent bail conditions. Mr. Potter’s situation has been discussed on Twitter and other social media platforms.

A CBO is only issued by a court following a criminal conviction, and there are sufficient safeguards in place throughout the criminal justice system to ensure that the vast majority of people with autism are treated fairly.

While the NPAA can’t comment on individual cases, it is important that individuals of the autism spectrum are dealt with appropriately according to their needs when coming into contact with the criminal justice system. Due to communication issues and difficulty regulating emotion, autistic people are vulnerable regardless of their age or station in life, and should be treated as such.

NPAA spokesman Adam O’Loughlin commented: “Having autism is not an excuse for criminal or anti-social behaviour. However the NPAA advocate that there is a need for the outward traits displayed by many autistic people to be recognised by all criminal justice agencies, and for appropriate safeguarding measures to be put in place.” Many police forces, with the support of the NPAA are ensuring that their front line officers are sufficiently trained.

About us: The NPAA is an independent body supporting UK police officers, staff and volunteers who are affected by autism spectrum condition (ASC), Asperger syndrome, and other neurodiverse conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and depression – either personally or as carers for family members. We welcome all police personnel with a personal or professional interest in these conditions.