Wiltshire Police has been working in partnership with autism charities in Wiltshire, including the National Autistic Society and the Swindon based Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness (DASH) to develop an autism alert card which can be carried by anyone with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).
The autism alert card can be used in situations where people with ASC might find communication difficult, for example if they come to the attention of the police, the criminal justice system or other services.
Developed in consultation with adults with autism, Aspergers syndrome and parents, the autism alert card is designed to highlight the condition and asks them to show respect and tolerance. The card gives simple advice and allows the holder to provide emergency contact details.
The cards should be carried at all times and are available free of charge to anyone with an Autism Spectrum Condition, so long as supporting documentation is sent.
For people on the autism spectrum, incidents involving criminal justice professionals can occur because of the misinterpretation of certain behaviors, as threatening or non co-operative.
People with autism can become extremely anxious in unexpected or unfamiliar situations. Anyone with autism should have access to an appropriate adult or intermediary when in contact with the police or emergency services.
The autism alert card provides an important bridge between the police and those with autism. The card allows officers with the means to identify a person with an Autism Spectrum Condition and will help to provide support to manage issues and situations relating to people with this condition. The card will carry the National Autistic Society's logo as well as the Wiltshire Police crest so they will be easily identifiable to the emergency services. This initiative will also allow autism charities in Wiltshire to support people across the county with autism, as well as providing a database for people holding the card.
To find out more about the autism alert card, or download an application form, visit the Wiltshire Autism Alert website (www.autismalertwilts.com). Application forms will be processed by the Swindon branch of the National Autistic Society, not by Wiltshire Police.
Download a leaflet for more information about the scheme
To help promote the Autism Alert Card initiative, download and display this poster