Police awareness of autism and the impact on individuals who wander

Charlie Swan, Prithvi Perepa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

362 Downloads (Pure)


This small-scale study was conducted with four police officers who were interviewed about their knowledge of autism and how they might respond to finding an autistic person who had wandered off from their home or their carer. Like other studies which focus on professional groups who cover the entire population and who are not focused on specific groups, the opportunities for training are often limited in terms of time and topic. As was found in this study, their understanding of autism and how they might adjust their practice was very limited and largely based on their own personal experiences. All showed empathy and a willingness to support the person in the best way but did not know how to do this. So, if they do not know the person has autism they may misinterpret their actions but knowing the person is autistic, may not necessarily be any more helpful unless they have knowledge of what is likely to help. There is a growing recognition of the need for autism knowledge within police forces and some forces have worked very hard to enhance this. Knowing how best this is achieved is the focus of another study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages6
JournalGood Autism Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019


  • autism
  • police awareness
  • wandering


Dive into the research topics of 'Police awareness of autism and the impact on individuals who wander'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this