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The Tribunal heard that the DCC’s decision had been based on an outdated ‘personal profile’ document written when the officer was diagnosed at University some years previously.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). ∎