Category Archives: News

Discrimination finding for autistic police officer rejected from firearms training

Judgement of direct discrimination following decision by Deputy Chief Constable to block claimant’s application due to her neurodivergent conditions

A police officer was wrongly prevented from commencing firearms training because of her autism and dyslexia, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Lauren Crawford, an officer with Cumbria Constabulary, applied to become an Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) in 2019, having successfully qualified to carry a Taser. Despite being supported by the Force Medical Adviser, passing the pre-course assessments and receiving “overwhelming” positive feedback from her supervisor, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Webster blocked the officer from joining the AFO course.

The Tribunal heard that the DCC’s decision had been based on an outdated ‘personal profile’ document written when the officer was diagnosed at University some years previously. The DCC did not meet with PC Crawford or review her AFO application form prior to his decision. The officer attempted to submit a grievance but was advised that there was no route of appeal.

Julia Gargan, Associate at law firm Harbottle & Lewis, said: “The case is a reminder to employers that at all stages of the employment cycle, including during an application process, employees must be treated equally and that a decision regarding an employee should not be made based on assumptions about the potential impact of their disability.”

For further reading, click on the links for an article by People Management, and to download the Tribunal judgement (38 page PDF). ∎

Devon & Cornwall Police student officers join National Neurodiversity Youth Council

Two student officers from Devon & Cornwall Police have been selected to join the National Neurodiversity Youth Council, an initiative by the ADHD Foundation to include young people in neurodiversity advocacy.

PC Declan Thomas and PC Paige Donaldson have been selected to join the Council, and will be supported by PC John Holland, NPAA lead coordinator for Devon & Cornwall Police and a member of the Force Performance & Inclusion Team.

The National Neurodiversity Youth Council is a national visionary project, lead by young people aged 16 to 24. The appointment of PCs Thomas and Donaldson to the Council marks a new and innovative approach that aims to increase neurodiversity within the police workforce and encourage new conversations between the police service and neurodivergent communities.

Click on the link for the original news article on the Devon & Cornwall Police website. ∎

PCs Declan Thomas and Paige Donaldson at Bodmin Police Station

Force helps support neurodivergent student officers

Devon & Cornwall Police have introduced a new sensory tool to help support neurodivergent student officers

The new Sensory Library Squares were developed by Samboards and were funded from a grant allocated to the National Police Autism Association by the NPCC. They will be used primarily to support students who are suspected or diagnosed as having a neurodivergent condition.

Samboards Sensory Library Squares

The sensory boards are designed to help persons with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or sensory issues within the classroom environment. Side effects of ADHD and autism can make it more challenging for students to participate in study and other activities, so using a sensory board can help increase concentration and assist with focusing.

John Holland, NPAA lead coordinator and Neurodiversity Support Network Peer Support SPOC for Devon & Cornwall Police, said: “The approach the Performance & Inclusion team are utilising to support neurodiverse student officers has been recognised by the College of Policing as a supportive measure to ensure our officers are being given an equally opportunity to thrive within the learning environment, and is just one of many supportive measures we are exploring.”

For more information, click on the links for a news article on the Devon & Cornwall Police website and product information on the Samboards website. ∎