Category Archives: News

Royal Navy Second Sea Lord reveals he is autistic

Vice Admiral Nick Hine talks about his autism diagnosis and the need for neurodiversity in the Armed Forces

Vice Admiral Nick Hine

In a candid interview with The Times ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, Vice Admiral Nick Hine has revealed that he is autistic.

Vice Admiral Hine – as Second Sea Lord, the second highest ranking officer in the Navy – was diagnosed with autism 10 years ago. At the time he only disclosed his diagnosis to close friends and family.

In the interview, Hine talked about his reputation for being “blunt, challenging and difficult”, which eventually led him to seek a formal diagnosis. These traits, along with a single-minded determination helped him to forge a career in the Navy. With his retirement approaching in 2022, Hine made the decision to speak out in order to highlight the value of neurodiversity to the Armed Forces and the particular skills that conditions such as autism can bring to the service.

The Vice Admiral described himself as having a brain that is “wired differently”, and said: “It doesn’t mean that I am disabled, it doesn’t mean that I am odd, it doesn’t mean that I am in any way shape or form less capable. It means that I am different.” Hine went on to state his belief that it was essential for the UK’s military to recruit those who could think differently in order to remain an effective fighting force in years to come.

Information on the autism diagnosis process for adults and children can be found on the National Autistic Society website.

Updated police autism guide released

The National Autistic Society has released the latest version of their guide for police officers and staff, updated September 2020. The document contains simple ‘do’s and dont’s’ for dealing with autistic suspects, victims of crime and witnesses, and examples of best practice.

The NPAA would like to extend our thanks to the NAS for providing the opportunity for us to contribute to this important piece of work, which will assist in our aim of training all frontline police officers in recognising and working with autism.

Click on the image to download the guide as a PDF, or click here to purchase a hard copy from the NAS online shop (subject to availability).

Coronavirus: new requirement for face coverings in shops

From the 24th July 2020 it will be mandatory by law to wear a face covering in shops, supermarkets, transport hubs and other enclosed public spaces in England, as part of the effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Face coverings have been required to be worn on public transport in England since the 15th June. (Different rules apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.)

Exemptions apply for disabilities or conditions such as autism where wearing a face covering would cause distress. To assist with explaining the need for an exemption, information cards suitable for displaying on a phone or printing are available on the GOV.UK website (click on the link to access PDF downloads).

Note that it is not a requirement in law to carry an information card or medical evidence supporting an exemption – the Government website advises:

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.
This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.
Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. Written evidence includes exemption cards.

Further resources and advice are available from the National Autistic Society.