Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 2028–2041 | Cite as

Experiences of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Policing in England and Wales: Surveying Police and the Autism Community

  • Laura Crane
  • Katie L. MarasEmail author
  • Tamsyn Hawken
  • Sue Mulcahy
  • Amina Memon
Original Paper


An online survey gathered the experiences and views of 394 police officers (from England and Wales) regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Just 42 % of officers were satisfied with how they had worked with individuals with ASD and reasons for this varied. Although officers acknowledged the need for adjustments, organisational/time constraints were cited as barriers. Whilst 37 % of officers had received training on ASD, a need for training tailored to policing roles (e.g., frontline officers, detectives) was identified. Police responses are discussed with respect to the experiences of the ASD community (31 adults with ASD, 49 parents), who were largely dissatisfied with their experience of the police and echoed the need for police training on ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Police Criminal justice system Interviewing Offending Victimisation Witness 



We gratefully acknowledge the police, as well as the adult and parent respondents, who generously gave their time to publicise and/or complete our survey. This work was completed under Grants to the first two authors from the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Numbers ES/J020893/1 and ES/J003379/1).

Author Contributions

KM and LC jointly conceived the study, participated in its design, coordination, analyses and drafted the manuscript; SM, TH and AM participated in the design and interpretation of the data and assisted in drafts of the manuscript; TH performed the qualitative analysis, alongside LC and KM. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Crane
    • 1
  • Katie L. Maras
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tamsyn Hawken
    • 2
  • Sue Mulcahy
    • 3
  • Amina Memon
    • 4
  1. 1.City University LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUK
  3. 3.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  4. 4.Royal Holloway, University of LondonLondonUK

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