I attended the first meeting of the criminal justice forum held at Che
ire police HQ.

Representatives of several parent / carer groups were Present as were police.

The main focus for the session was to establish a heightened level of
awareness of ASC and understand how together we might share and learn
from issues.  Early focus for the group was agreed as some quick wins.

1. Review (/ improve) training for Police offices in spotting and
responding to ASC. Prior to the next meeting it is hoped a separate
discussion with the Force learning and development team might delve a
little deeper into current training and ways to increase broad
awareness – agreement centred on maybe 1 hour  perhaps utilizing
existing force training days perhaps rather than more grandiose

2. Ways for ASC people to identify themselves, which was better than
the NAS card. Perhaps something like the card CASPER had and could be
endorsed by Cheshire Police. Some debate on why the NAS ID scheme was
inadequate and how they might need to improve but for now something in
addition / alongside probably better. Existing material and schemes
would be circulated amongst attendees to start debate / discussion on
how we might progress.

There was then wider discussion on other elements of the criminal
justice system – CPS, Magistrates, prisons – but all agreed for now
let’s get some ‘quick wins’.

Examples of best practices were seen in West Midlands and there was
agreement that copying other schemes and ideas (rather than
reinventing things) was the best way forward.

Jo Garner was agreed as lead for the group.
The group would aim to meet about quarterly albeit next meeting
squeezed in before summer holidays so 1st  / 2nd  week in July.

There was a suggestion that if any parents did have any discrete
examples of where ASC people had encountered the police it might
provide useful anecdotes.  One attendee gave an excellent positive
example of the level of sensitivity / awareness shown to the ASC
person. Other such examples as well as areas of potential learning /
reflection would be particularly helpful for the group to understand
scale and nature of incidents.


John Lamb

Leave a Reply