Future police officers are being trained to better understand disability hate crime through a unique partnership between Nottingham Trent University and Dimensions.
Dimensions, a leading not-for-profit organisation supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, has partnered with NTU as part of its #ImWithSam campaign to tackle autism and learning disability hate crime.
To raise awareness of this issue, Dimensions created Sam, a fictional character to represent people who have experienced autism and learning disability hate crime.
Recent research conducted by Dimensions reveals that only 25% of the public think society is inclusive of people with learning disabilities and autism, and that 6% of UK adults admit to having physically hurt someone because of their learning disability or autism – equivalent to 3.6 million people.
Following successful training within a police force, Dimensions made its learning disability and autism hate crime e-learning available online and free for all police colleagues.
As part of this, Dimensions has delivered the training in-person and online to NTU Professional Policing students to help those entering the police force to better understand this type of hate crime and communicate with people with learning disabilities and autism.
Dimensions will also be working with the University’s Criminology and Policing department to develop materials for lecturers, which will encourage them co-host sessions alongside people with lived experience of learning disability and autism hate crime.
With the aim to introduce the training across other universities, NTU is evaluating the impact of the training by mapping feedback against objectives and providing Dimensions with suggestions for improvement.
"Hidden disability and Neuro Diversity are critical conditions that affect and impact upon modern policing,” said Martin Tangen, course leader BA Professional Policing at NTU.
“The work we have done with Dimensions in order to raise our future police officers’ awareness of these issues is crucial to those officers providing a better service to victims, witnesses and suspects who may have such a condition.
“By raising their awareness and giving them information about these conditions, those future officers will have a greater understanding, and be able to provide a better and more considerate service to the public."