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.