“New police support group reveals a surprising fact: there are police officers on the autism spectrum”
A new police support group aims to support UK officers and staff affected by autism spectrum condition (ASC), Asperger syndrome and related conditions including dyslexia, and to raise the profiles of autism within the police service and disability hate crime.
The National Autism Police Association (NPAA) was founded in August 2015 by a Hampshire Constabulary front line officer, and was launched on the 10th October. It supports police employees affected personally by ASC or as carers for family members. Uniquely among police support groups, it is online‐only – officers and staff are able to register on a private web forum, where they can share experiences and information and ask questions in confidence. The forum is also open to criminal justice system staff and support professionals from organisations such as the National Autistic Society.
The fact that there are police officers with Asperger syndrome (a mild form of high‐functioning autism) may come as a surprise to the public. The NPAA maintains that people with these conditions are found in all walks of life including the police service, and can be highly intelligent and creative individuals.
The NPAA also encourages discussion around best practices for working with members of public affected by autism. This comes at a time when police forces have been accused of mistreating children and adults with autism, leading to complaints and compensation payouts.
The NPAA is supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Autistic Society. The Association maintains a website, http://www.npaa.org.uk, and regularly tweets from “Police Autism UK” @npaa_uk.