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. ∎