By Dennis Debbaudt
Jessica Kingsley Publishing
ISBN 1 85302 908 7
The US state of Maryland’s autism awareness programme for police
officers has timely parallels for UK forces working on their
support to vulnerable adults as victims, witnesses and potential
offenders. Now Dennis Debbaudt’s book will be of use to relatives,
service providers and advocacy services as well as police officers,
for whom the book was originally intended.
The book sets out basic information on how to recognise and
respond to people with autism, explaining how and why confrontation
with a police officer might lead to escalation of odd or difficult
behaviour. It also describes common instances of police involvement
in the lives of people with autism.
A chapter deals with issues arising in interviews, false
indicators of guilt and the pressures that might lead to a false
confession, although this section would need to be read alongside
more detailed research-based studies of capacity, suggestibility
and confabulation. The material is inevitably specific to a US
context and would need to be used alongside UK guidance.
Hilary Brown is professor of social care, Salomons
Centre, Canterbury Christ Church University.