Autistic people needed for University of Portsmouth research

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PEOPLE with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are being invited to take part in a new study examining police interview methods.

Joanne Richards, from the University of Portsmouth, is carrying out the research which aims to improve how adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder are questioned as police witnesses.

She is researching how people with ASD respond to traditional police questioning, and wants to hear from adults with the condition who would like to take part in mock police interviews.

Joanne, from the university’s Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, said: ‘ASD is associated with problems with communication and interaction skills and little is known about how people with it respond in a forensic setting.

‘Being a witness in a police interview places demands upon memory, cognitive ability and communication skills which people with ASD may find problematic.

‘This could have implications for a police investigation which is reliant on a good eye-witness account.

‘The aim of the study is to create interview conditions which will maximise their strengths and provide resources to accommodate their communication difficulties.’

Participants will watch a DVD recording of a criminal event and will be interviewed for about an hour by researchers about what they saw.

The research, supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers, will be completed by 2012 and researchers hope the results will be used to inform police practice.