Injustices Against Autistic People

Systemic Failures and Breaches of Statutory Guidance by the Police and IPCC/IOPC Identified on this Website

 

THE POLICE

 

  • Excessive and unwarranted use of restraint, including misuse of tasers

 

  • Profiling of autistic behaviours as criminal behaviours (see Bradley, Marcus and Panda’s stories)

 

  • Failure to identify the real victim of crime because the perpetrator, of a disability hate crime for example, claims to have been the victim of an assault and are believed by police even when there is CCTV evidence to the contrary

 

  • Failure to divert to clinical services for assessment as alternative to arrest, and acting in the role of front line mental health workers when an emergency referral to health or social care services would be more appropriate

 

  • Failure to request Appropriate Adult, or a Health Care Professional to assess for fitness to detain and interview, even when police are aware that the person has ‘protected characteristics’ under PACE

 

  • Assessments for fitness to detain and interview not being carried out by persons properly qualified to do so, not repeated if necessary prior to actual interview, and not filed properly for later disclosure

 

  • Failure to consult with family or friends even when aware a detainee has protected characteristics

 

  • Ignoring declarations of being autistic along with medical and social reports

 

  • Failure to accept or consider medical and other evidence that could contextualise autistic behaviours

 

  • Failure to obtain CCTV footage and other key evidence that would support the defence

 

  • Failure to investigate away from, as well as towards, allegations

 

  • Failure to provide safeguards to protect autistic detainee from harm

 

  • Failing to put protective markers on databases where this is requested by the autistic person, or ignoring ones that are in place (read about misuse of autism markers here)

 

  • Entering false and erroneous allegations on police databases and then refusing to erase or amend them with all of the additional distress this causes the individual

 

  • Failure to ensure that initial pocket notebook allegations are in the complainants own words and signed

 

  • Failure to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ in order that an autistic detainee is treated fairly and that evidence is protected

 

  • Failure to provide bail until a properly supported ABE interview can be arranged

 

  • Not giving equal weight to the distress of an autistic, accused person—i.e. the person making the allegation is assumed to be telling the truth (the ‘victim’ has to be believed when it is not always clear who the victim is)

 

  • Police failing to own up to mistakes when they are made, instead allowing lengthy complaints processes, even legal action, to prevent exposing wrong doing—with all the waste of public money this involves

 

 

IPCC / IOPC

 

Families have evidence that the IPCC breached their own procedures in failing to investigate complaints against the police in a way that suggests collusion to shut down complaints. In some cases, these miscarriages of justice went all the way to the Chief Executive and Chair of the former IPCC who were made aware of breaches of procedures and their own discrimination policy and yet did nothing to investigate it. Even those responsible for commissioning the IPCC in the Home Office have failed to investigate serious allegations against chief IPCC officers.

 

  • Ignoring key evidence that supports the complaint

 

  • Accepting police officers’ versions of events without challenge or proper consideration of the complainant’s evidence

 

  • Refusing to consider medical evidence

 

  • The IOPC do not enforce their recommendations to the police, or have a procedure in place to ensure that recommendations are actually fulfilled

 

  • Inequality of taking up to 2 years to investigate a complaint but only give the complainant 28 days to appeal—this is in itself discriminatory

 

  • Failure to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ or safeguard autistic people in breach of their public sector duty of care under the Equality Act 2010

 

  • Some casework managers clearly not having the skills or experience to investigate complaints against the police, let alone any understanding of autism

 

  • Casework manager decisions often not scrutinised or endorsed by more senior officers, or where they are, the complainant not being given the name of that person and being told that the final decision is with the casework manager (front line worker)—a complete abdication of accountability

 

  • Allowing the police not to uphold 'recording decisions' in spite of complaints being legitimate—that is, agreeing with the police that a complaint does not have to be recorded or investigated

 

  • Using spurious legalistic claims to avoid providing legitimate information to the complainant (in Max’s case, refusing to provide a copy of an investigation report that had taken 2 years to compile on the basis it contained third party information)

 

  • No mechanism to independently investigate complaints against the IOPC when they get things wrong or breach their own guidelines, other than by Judicial Review. This is beyond the financial and emotional resources of most autistic complainants and is therefore discriminatory and an abuse of public finances

 

  • IOPC solicitors and barristers being used as part of the complaints process even where there is no solicitor involved in the complaint from the complainants side. This can prevent the complainant from getting a fair investigation as the role of the IOPC legal team appears to be to protect both IOPC and the police from criticism, rather than providing a fair and balanced investigation. It is also a waste and misuse of public money

 

  • Failure by Home Office Sponsorship Unit who commission the IOPC, to hold the IOPC to account for the failures listed above. This includes not investigating evidence that former IPCC chief officers themselves failed to investigate breaches of statutory procedures and the IPCC's own discrimination policy, thereby causing further harm to autistic people who the IPCC failed to safeguard

 

 

FAILINGS BY THE IPCC REPORTED TO PARLIAMENT IN 2013, YET STILL EVIDENCED ON THIS SITE IN 2018

 

In 2013, Parliament commissioned an inquiry from the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) to report on how effectively the IPCC were performing in their role of scrutinising complaints against the police. There is little evidence that the list of failures provided below has ever been addressed, or that the IOPC is any more effective today than the IPCC was in 2013.

 

We ask that the current Home Affairs Select Committee revisit this report and investigate the evidence provided by Max, Daniel and Sam’s stories on this site, in order to identify why those same failures identified in 2013 continue to characterise the performance of IOPC today.

 

From The Report:

 

10. We heard significant concerns that the processes and procedures maintained by the Commission were not robust enough. As the Police Action Lawyers Group put it, “our clients can expect islands of good practice scattered amongst a sea of ineffective conduct in respect of the IPCC’s investigatory, supervisory and appellate functions”.5 Our inquiry raised the following issues:

 

a) failure to locate evidence and propensity to uncritically accept police explanations for missing evidence (including forensic, CCTV and other evidence from the scene);

 

b) lack of “investigatory rigour” and “thorough investigation”;

 

c) slowness in responding to complaints and conducting investigations;

 

d) reliance on scene of crime officers from the force under investigation;

 

e) lack of skills and experience of qualified lawyers and prosecutors;

 

f) failure to critically analyse competing accounts, even with inconsistencies between officers’ accounts or an compelling account from a complainant;

 

g) the Department of Professional Standards in the force being investigated was allowed to summarise the complaint (without consulting the complainant) and then proceed directly to investigating it on these terms;

 

h) the requirement for a complainant to attend the police station where the offence may have taken place, after a traumatic experience in custody.

 

11. Inquest noted “dismay and disillusionment” at “the consistently poor quality of decision-making at all levels of the IPCC” and unsuccessful attempts to raise concerns through the IPCC Advisory Board, where “follow-up on agreed action points has been pitifully poor”.