London, UK: The National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is today aware of a report by Channel 4 on a Merseyside Police officer convicted of assault on a 10 year old autistic child. The officer, who retired from the Force after the incident, was later found to have committed gross misconduct and was placed on the College of Policing Barred List.
As a national network supporting neurodiversity in the police service, many of our members are autistic themselves or parents of autistic children, and we are shocked and saddened by what was clearly a failure in the officer’s duty of care. We join the Merseyside Police Professional Standards Department in offering reassurance that the officer’s actions do not reflect the behaviour and standards of our colleagues, who do the best they can to protect vulnerable adults and children.
Although all police officers receive some training on autism, this is often included as part of a larger input on mental health issues. The NPAA advocates for dedicated autism training to be provided to all frontline officers and staff, as part of our aim to promote best practice for working with the autistic community.
About us: The NPAA is a national support network for police officers, staff and volunteers affected by autism and other neurodivergent conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. We welcome all police personnel with a personal, family or professional interest in these conditions. ∎
Bristol, UK: The National Police Autism Association (NPAA) is today aware of a trend on social media site TikTok called the #AutismChallenge – reported as “the worst thing on social media”.
What seems to have begun as a well-intentioned campaign to raise awareness and acceptance of autism has escalated, which has resulted in the abuse of autistic and disabled individuals. This is hate crime, and it is not acceptable.
We advise any autistic person experiencing such abuse to report it to their local police service. Objectionable content on social media should be reported via the platform’s reporting facility.
The NPAA works with all UK police forces to help support autistic victims of crime, as well as continuing to support those within the law enforcement community whose lives are touched by it.
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 hidden conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. We welcome all police personnel with a personal, family or professional interest in these conditions.
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.