Police Join Campaign to Help Raise Awareness of Autism

Thursday, 26 March, 2009

A joint initiative between North Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire and Humber brand of the National Autistic Society is seeking to improve communication between criminal justice professionals and people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Autism Alert Card is credit card sized and can be carried at all times. It is intended that those people with Autism who find themselves in a situation where they cannot easily give an explanation about their condition, will show this card to whoever they need to communicate with.

This card is supported by North Yorkshire Police as it will help them and other emergency services to identify that they are dealing with someone who has autism.

Autism Awareness Training is now an integral part of the force's training programme, which includes classroom training, e-learning via the NAS Website, paper based literature for self study, and a DVD.

Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross, said: "It is vital that all members of our communities feel comfortable and confident when they come into contact with emergency services and the criminal justice system.

"Our officers need to be particularly aware of the challenges facing people who have an autism spectrum disorder. The alert card is a simple but effective way to quickly identify anyone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and ensure that any difficulties in communication are not misinterpreted."

Heidi Shepherd, The Yorkshire & Humberside Area Manager for the National Autistic Society added: "I am absolutely delighted we are working with the police in supporting people within the community who have Autism. The alert cards are part of an overarching strategy to ensure sufferers receive the support they need at the right time in their lives. This joint initiative with North Yorkshire police will also help to significantly improve relations between those with Autism and professionals within the criminal justice system."

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