On the 14th October 2013, The Metropolitan Police Service invited me to deliver a 3rd presentation on autism awareness.
event was organised by the Safer Schools Team based at Empress State
Building and included other elements of mental health.
The MPS are currently working on a new training package to deliver to officers following the The Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing report.
The role of our police officers in the current climate is extremely difficult and years of exemplary service to the public can be destroyed by one adverse media portrayal of an event.
The media habitually
neglects to mention the positive role of our police officers despite the
often heroic acts they perform to protect members of the public on a
daily basis. I know officers who have worked in the county forces and
in London and I feel very proud of all them who are under constant
pressure from the media.
Recent media coverage of several incidents involving police officers and individuals with autistic spectrum disorder have been predominantly negative. Difficult decisions have been made by officer's in the best interests of preserving life in the past which have unfortunately resulted in heightened fear and anxiety for ASD individuals, however, I believe that the MPS are now focused on improving the officer's awareness of autism.
The Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing report was recently published and heavily critised the police for a lack of training and awareness relating to dealing with people with mental health issues.
Although correct in many ways it should be
kept in mind that the report looked at 55 MPS cases over 5 years.
Given that officers deal with cases involving mental health issues every
single day, a lot of good work is going unreported.
I have personally heard accounts from people suffering from mental health issues of how well they were treated by officers when they were dealt with.
The topics I covered during the presentation included:
What autism is
Signs that someone may have autism
Statistics on crime and autism
How to engage someone with autism as a police officer
Information for the arresting officer
Organisations that help with autism