Category Archives: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Petition for police autism training

Bristol, UK: The UK National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is today aware of an online petition by Paula McGowan asking for mandatory training for all police officers on autism. The petition was launched by Ms McGowan as part of her campaign to introduce mandatory autism training for healthcare professionals, following the death of her son Oliver in 2016.

One of the NPAA’s main aims is to ensure that front-line police officers are given training on autism and related conditions, and that the training given is condition-specific. It is for this reason that we welcome and support this petition.

NPAA Head of Policy Adam O’Loughlin commented: “This petition highlights the absolute need for all police services to ensure that their front line officers are sufficiently trained to recognise the outward traits displayed by many autistic people and to react appropriately. We are more than happy to support it.”

The NPAA works closely with all UK police forces – we are aware that many frontline officers have either received autism awareness training or are due to receive training soon.

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

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.