The City of London Police becomes the first force in the UK to screen for ADHD among detainees, with the launch of a new trial.
Recent years have seen a rise in diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the NHS, symptoms in adults can include extreme impatience, mood swings, a quick temper and taking risks in activities, often with little regard for safety.
Therapist Sarah Templeton, who has worked in four English prisons, devised a checklist which will be used by officers to flag any potential diagnoses. In “urgent” cases, City of London Police staff will provide fast-track access to an NHS provider of adult ADHD assessments.
Sarah, who is also CEO of the neurodiversity awareness charity ADHD Liberty, said: “We’ve been working for seven years to raise awareness about the number of prisoners with ADHD and we’re beyond grateful to the City of London Police for being the first force to be involved in the pilot. It will prove how many people being held in police stations have undiagnosed ADHD.
“A mental health nurse I have spoken to, who has worked in prisons for 20 years, puts the rate of ADHD at 85%. It shows how serious the problem is.”
Detective Chief Inspector Anna Rice, of the City of London Police, said: “Being the first police force to adopt ADHD screening shows we are leading the way in supporting vulnerable suspects who enter the criminal justice system in our custody. The pilot will identify undiagnosed ADHD among detainees, supporting them and ensuring they are processed fairly.”
This pilot dovetails with the mental health checklist already incorporated in processing suspects through the criminal justice system. The checklist, developed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, aims to improve the depth and quality of information provided to CPS prosecutors before they make charging and case management decisions.
The Metropolitan Police not commented on whether it will introduce similar measueres.