South Yorkshire Police is committed to becoming more accessible to those with autism as part of our journey to being a recognised ‘Autism Friendly’ organisation.
There are many people affected by autism across South Yorkshire.
Protecting those who are vulnerable is a force priority, and we want to ensure we can adequately meet the needs of those people who may benefit from additional support in their interactions with us.
So far as a force we have:
- Introduced Autism Alert Cards, enabling police and other emergency services to communicate with autistic residents more effectively and helping those on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable in what could potentially be an extremely stressful situation.
- Provide ‘passports’, a document you can show to people that explains your communication styles and presentations, for situations such as travel hubs or shopping malls where it may not be the police you need.
- Introduced fidget cubes and widgets - easy to read materials to explain what will happen - in custody suites, to help reduce anxiety.
- Installed autism single points of contact or ‘SPOCS’ in all districts who are able to provide specialist knowledge and support to people across the force.
- A regular presence on Local Authority Autism Boards.
- Provided Autism Awareness training across the force to front line staff and staff in custody, enquiry desk and call handler roles.
- Continue to work with NAS and Autism & Learning Disability NHS Teams on projects to improve outcomes for those that have contact with the Criminal Justice System.
Autism Alert Cards are available to anyone of any age, as long as they are able to provide us with a copy of their formal diagnosis from their GP, information that they are awaiting a diagnosis or similar and a passport sized photo. The cards are free.