May 16 2012 By Emma Smith
Autism motorbike Image 2
A LANDMARK project – aimed at protecting people with autism who are victims of crime and accidents – has been launched in the city.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Strathclyde Police and the Autism Information Sharing Partnership.
The scheme, which will be piloted in the north-west of the city, uses a database which means when police are called to an address, they will be made aware in advance if the occupant has autism.
Police can also access details such as any individual characteristics of the condition and a personal contact who can lead officers through what could be a highly pressurised situation.
An estimated 50,000 Scots have autism, with 6000 believed to live in Glasgow.
Dr Robert Moffat, director of the National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “Being a victim of a crime or an accident can be stressful for anyone – but for someone with autism, it can be particularly disorientating and frightening.
“People with the condition can have difficulty making eye contact, or find any kind of physical contact unbearable. And they often have difficulty understanding facial expressions. In a serious crime or a medical emergency, these types of misunderstandings can have serious consequences.”
Kieran Pentland, 42, works as an employment consultant for the society and has Asperger syndrome.
He said: “I love motorcycling and occasionally come into contact with the police. The bright blue flashing lights, radio noises, high-visibility vests and questions can be confusing.
“At times like these, people with autism can struggle to communicate in a conventional manner and become agitated.
“This scheme could help resolve matters more quickly and with less stress.”
Chief Inspector Simon Wright, of Strathclyde Police, added: “The Autism Awareness Partnership pilot is designed to provide additional support for people with autism.”
To register with the Information Sharing Partnership, contact the Autism Resource Centre on 276 7182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org