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Police survey BJPsych Open paper 6_7_23.pdf (444.05 kB)

A survey of the workplace experiences of police force employees who are autistic and/or have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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posted on 2023-09-29, 08:49 authored by SJ Tromans, A Drewett, PH Lee, M O'Reilly

Background

There has been little focus on autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in occupational groups, particularly in high-demand roles such as the police.


Aims

To describe the characteristics and experiences of UK-based police force employees who are autistic and/or have ADHD, including the benefits and challenges their conditions bring to their occupation, their need for reasonable adjustments, and their co-occurring mental illnesses.


Method

An online survey was developed, containing both quantitative and qualitative elements. Survey invitations were disseminated through the National Police Autism Association. The survey was open from 23 April to 23 July 2022.


Results

A total of 117 participants participated in the survey, including 66 who were autistic and 51 with ADHD. Participants who were autistic and/or had ADHD widely reported both benefits and challenges related to their condition(s) in policing work. Both the autistic and ADHD groups widely reported having requested workplace adjustments related to their condition(s), although these were frequently not made. Anxiety (n = 57; 49%) and depression (n = 40; 36%) were both highly prevalent among the participants.


The qualitative findings identified four themes: (a) motivations for taking on this career, (b) rewards of the role, (c) challenges of the job and (d) challenges regarding career progression.


Conclusions

Police force employees who are autistic and/or have ADHD reported that their conditions provided both benefits and challenges with respect to policing work, and that they had requested related workplace adjustments, although such adjustments frequently do not take place. Healthcare professionals need to recognise the importance of workplace considerations and advocacy for people who are autistic and/or have ADHD.

History

Author affiliation

Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

BJPsych Open

Volume

9

Issue

4

Pagination

e123

Publisher

Royal College of Psychiatrists

issn

2056-4724

eissn

2056-4724

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2023-09-29

Spatial coverage

England

Language

eng

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