A Jewish charity that trains police officers to communicate with people with learning disabilities this week found itself ahead of the curve, as a new Home Office report revealed that police were not supporting vulnerable people in custody.
Norwood, which supports children and families, ran sessions for Thames Valley Police, teaching officers how to communicate effectively and sensitively when interviewing people with learning disabilities or mental illness.
The charity’s sessions saw officers work with Norwood service users, which was hailed as a huge step forward for the police, who had previously relied on actors when doing their training.
“For a comparatively small Jewish charity to have been ahead of larger charities and police forces in this way is extremely interesting,” said a Norwood spokesman.
“The sessions were a great success. We believe it’s our obligation not just to deliver services but also work within the wider community for a better understanding about working with people we support.”
This week’s report said ‘appropriate adults,’ meaning trained volunteers, were not being used to support up to 250,000 vulnerable people held in custody every year. A lack of awareness and a shortage of trainees meant police often questioned adults with mental illness or learning issues without adequate support.