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Force helps support neurodiverse student officers

18th September 2023

Devon and Cornwall Police have introduced a new learning tool to help support neurodiverse student officers.

Lead by the Performance and Inclusion (P&I), the new Sensory library Boards (Samboards); have been funded using a grant from the National Police Autism Association (NPAA) and will be used primarily to support those students who are suspected or diagnosed as having a neurodivergent condition.

They are designed to help persons with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or sensory issues within the classroom environment. Side effects of ADHD and autism can make it more challenging for students to participate in study and other activities so by using a Samboards this can help increase concentration and assist with focusing.

Police Constable John Holland, NPAA lead coordinator, Neurodiversity Support Network Peer Support SPOC and P&I team member within Devon and Cornwall, said: “The approach the P&I team are utilising to support neurodiverse student officer has been recognised by the College of Policing as a supportive measure to ensure our officers are being given an equally opportunity to thrive within the learning environment and is just one of many supportive measures we are exploring.

Police Sergeant John Nelson, Chair of the National Police Autism Association, said: "We are delighted to be able to put some of our NPCC grant towards helping neurodiverse student officers to achieve their potential and to making the police service a more inclusive employer for all."

Police staff member Zoey Empson, Victim Care Supervisor and Neurodiversity Support Network Chair for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “I am pleased Devon and Cornwall Police are taking on board the differing needs of their neurodiverse employees and are putting in place many supportive functions and reasonable adjustments to help us thrive; in turn giving our communities a better service in response.

I am very much looking forward to the future of policing and supporting further projects to support developmental growth in this regard.”

Andy Western from Samboards said: “It has been great working with Devon and Cornwall police and PC John Holland regarding their introduction and use of our sensory products to support neurodiverse students. It is nice to see the benefits Samboards sensory products bring, being introduced by Devon and Cornwall police as part of their inclusion programme.”

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