Pioneering autism charity and police win award

Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

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A JOINT project between the county’s police force and Hampshire Autistic Society has received an award.

The Autism Alert Partnership was created to improve the safety of and service received by people with autism when dealing with the emergency services.

Working with Hampshire Police Authority and Hampshire Constabulary, the ‘Alert card’ project scooped the police project of the year award at the second annual iESE Awards.

The card, designed to be carried by people with autism, was launched in late 2008 to ensure police recognise that the person they are dealing with has the condition, and also included the creation of a pocket book guide on autism and training for police including custody staff.

There is also a car sticker for display in car windscreens to enable Hampshire Fire and Rescue service to recognise the needs of people in road traffic accidents.

Next month they plan to launch a related passport scheme.

Hampshire Police Authority chairwoman Jacqui Rayment said: ‘The main aim of the partnership is to improve the service received by victims, witnesses and to ensure that those who do end up in the criminal justice system are dealt with in an appropriate manner.

‘The alert car stickers and passport system is the first of its kind not only nationally but also, we believe, internationally.’

Mike Walsh, head of support services for the charity, said: ‘We are very proud to lead in this innovation, which will achieve positive outcomes for people with autism, public services and local communities.’