Bedfordshire Police is launching another initiative to boost its officers’ understanding of autism.
It has formed a new partnership with a leading charity, Autism Anglia, which will deliver autism awareness training across the force and is part of a wider programme to educate officers about different aspects of mental health.
The first session will be attended by the force’s Command Team on September 17, where Temporary Chief Constable Jon Boutcher will sign an Autism Charter, which officially marks the force’s commitment to understanding autism.
The partnership follows the success of an earlier pilot scheme with Autism Bedfordshire, which delivered similar training. The force also plans to work with Dementia Friends, a national charity which will deliver training about dementia.
The initiatives support ambitions laid out in the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner’s five year plan, to work with our diverse communities, understand their needs and tailor services to them.
Chief Inspector Jaki Whittred, the force’s lead for Mental Health, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work in partnership with Autism Anglia, and we are excited about enhancing this on-going relationship. It’s important that we constantly think about how we deliver services to people with diverse needs in our communities.”
Alan Bicknell, Autism Anglia’s Director of Operations commented: “Autism Anglia is continuing to develop strong partnerships with Police Forces across the region and I cannot praise Bedfordshire Police enough for how committed they are to the Connect to Autism project.
“The force seems determined to make all their staff more ‘autism aware.’ I am really impressed with the positive way the force is approaching this and am delighted that they will be the first police force in the country to be awarded the Autism Charter, a framework which sets out realistic and achievable aspirations for organisations to become autism friendly. I look forward to working with them closely in the future.”