Wednesday, 17 April 2024
Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Talkback: Raising awareness with Thames Valley Police

MOST of us will have some form of interaction with the police during our lifetime. That could be to report a crime or incident, involvement in a traffic accident, or to ask for help. Or, in unfortunate situations, we may even find ourselves under arrest! 

We mainly tend to encounter the police when something is going wrong, which means there are likely to be stressful circumstances. People might react in many different ways – with trust, fear, confusion, or defiance perhaps.

For someone with autism, these feelings could be exacerbated by misunderstanding, resulting in conflict or meltdown. Which makes it very important that the police understand autism and its associated behaviours. And equally, people with autism can know that the police can be relied upon and are there to help. 

There are also a number of areas where autistic people and people with learning disabilities might be more vulnerable and susceptible to crime.

With this in mind, Talkback has embarked upon a number of initiatives to educate and break down barriers.

All three videos feature the outstanding acting skills of Talkback members with learning disabilities or autism, and the stories are told from their perspectives.

The videos are accompanied by easy-to-follow, step-by-step booklets for the person providing the training.

You can find out more and access this FREE educational resource here.

  • From August 2022 – March 2023, Talkback, alongside Autism Berkshire, ran some police training on autism. In 37 sessions, 600 officers across Thames Valley received Autism Training from Talkback.
  • In the summer of 2023, Talkback are hosting two Thames Valley Community Roadshows. With the aim to build positive relationships with Thames Valley Police officers, PCSOs and community neighbourhood teams. At these informal, interactive events, people with a learning disability and autistic people, alongside parents and carers, have the chance to network with local police professionals. Police professionals will also learn about autism.
  • With funding from the Thames Valley Police Community Fund, Talkback will create a short film for our Safety Awareness Project. The film will focus on educating autistic people and people with a learning disability to be safer in the community. Centred on the issues of modern slavery, drug trafficking, and cuckooing, this will complement the work started last year on our Cyber Crime training resources, mentioned above. The primary aim is to support people to understand the meaning of these terms, the risks and dangers, and to advise how to protect themselves. A secondary benefit will be to raise awareness among support workers, carers, employers and community leaders.
  • The Talkback Advice Bureau is open on Monday afternoons at the Front Room Café in High Wycombe. If you’re 25 and over and have learning disabilities or are autistic and need some help finding and accessing services in and around Bucks, then the Talkback Advice Bureau (TAB) can help.
    Whether it’s financial advice, accessing medical services or navigating public transport, we can help you find the information you need. 
  • Talkback have also been out to talk to different groups and colleges about the dangers of Loan Sharks.
  • And we’ve made connections with Women’s Aid, to enable autism and learning disability to be fully understood in relation to domestic abuse. Bucks Council, with support from Talkback, are about to launch a Stay OK easy-read website all around this area.

All in all, that’s quite an agenda! Talkback will never tire of tackling the issues that affect autistic people and people with a learning disability.

It’s what we do!

Tony Flower


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