School of Criminology

Neurodiverse Police Officers and staff: Learning Information about their Career Experiences. The n-POLICE study

This project was spearheaded by Dr Michelle O'Reilly (University of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust), Dr Samuel Tromans (University of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust) and Dr Alison Drewett (Loughborough University). 

Project Overview

The gaining and retention of employment is a central endeavour for many people. However, some groups in society find this more challenging than others. Those with certain disabilities or health conditions can find it especially difficult due to a range of social and societal barriers. Those with neurodevelopmental conditions like autism or ADHD have particular challenges in gaining and retaining employment (Nicholas et al., 2020).

The aim of our research project was to gain a stronger understanding of the perceptions and experiences of neurodivergent employees in the police from across the UK. Our objective was to identify the facilitators and barriers to strengths-based employment practices so that we can make recommendations to organisations to enable them to capitalise on the strengths within their workforce.

We partnered with the National Police Autism Association to ensure that our work was co-produced and relevant to policing. We recruited 37 police officers and staff to participate in qualitative reflective interviews about their experiences of working in the police while being autistic, having ADHD, or being autistic with co-occurring ADHD.

Download the PDF of the report (PDF, 746kb) for details of our findings and presents recommendations for organisations who employ neurodivergent staff in ‘jeopardising careers’.

The LOSST LIFFE project

Along with colleagues Dr Michelle O'Reilly also run the LOSST LIFFE project (Learning from Officers Suicide Support Tasks: Leicester Investigation of a Framework for Family Engagement). If interested, more information can be found on the LOSST LIFFE project website.

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