PSNI take a walk in the steps of someone with autism

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Chief constable Jon Boutcher said those with autism have been “failed” in the past due to a lack of understanding of such conditions.

Police in Northern Ireland have had a major learning experience after taking a walk in the steps of those with autism, the chief constable has said.

Those participating were observed by a trainer who took them through a lengthy debrief afterwards to assess their reactions and explain the reasons for how the experience worked. “Autism, Asperger’s, these are conditions that for most of us, are things that we read about in newspapers, but we have to deal with people who are going through crises, and to have an experience such as I have just had, that gives you a very brief glimpse into the world who people who suffer from autism experience, can only help our officers understand what people are going through, that they would otherwise have no clue.

Temporary Superintendent Finola Dornan, who chairs the Police Autism Support Group, said there has been a “phenomenal response” from the officers who went through the training. “I have no doubt they’ll go back to police stations right across Northern Ireland and put this into practise and share their learning with their colleagues.”

 

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