Justice and ADHD - Quality advice based on experience

ADHD and police custody offices

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - guide for operational police officers

 

What is it?

How will I notice this in a person?

What does this mean to me as a police officer?

So, what do I do?

What happens if this person ends up in custody?

Interviewing an ADHD sufferer?

 

What is it?

ADHD is a biological disorder that effects the functions of the brain.  It is treatable, but not curable.

How will I notice this in a person?

There is a national identity card scheme for ADHD, in Lancashire this is sponsored by LANPAC.  Presentation of this card to you, either on the street or in a search, will more than likely confirm the bearer is suffering from ADHD.

Sufferers of ADHD will normally have one or all of the following behaviour traits:-

  • The will be hyperactive
  • The cannot concentrate
  • they act impulsively

What does this mean to me as a police officer?

The person with ADHD will: -

  • be likely to not respect your personal space
  • appear to you to be unnaturally aggressive
  • appear to you to be keen to get way from speaking to you

So, what do I do?

Firstly, you must undertake all normal and reasonable steps to safeguard your own safety as in any confrontation with a member of the public.

Us the conflict resolution model to determine your approach.  Remember the ADHD sufferer may be confrontational, but may not be intentionally physically threatening.  Verbal communication skills will probably calm the individual.

What happens if this person ends up in custody?

ADHD is a recognised mental disorder and therefore sufferers fall under the provisions of the Codes of Practice for mental health sufferers (Section C, 3.15).  This means, despite everything you see and believe about this person they should : -

  • have an appropriate adult with them (this may not necessarily be the parent or carer)
  • have special considerations regarding their rights as ADHD sufferers often have problems with reading and writing
  • have special considerations in interviews (see below)

Those with ADHD are often prescribed medication that is designed to control their symptoms.  When in custody, police officers and staff should ensure that they receive their medication as prescribed.

Interviewing an ADHD sufferer?

When interviewing a sufferer of ADHD you should at all times: -

  • have an appropriate adult present
  • avoid long, multiple and complicated questions
  • avoid leading questions, sufferers are vulnerable to being easily led
  • take regular breaks in the interview, sufferers have a short attention span and get bored and frustrated very easily - suggest a break every ten minutes
  • recognise that inattention, impulsively and being hyperactive in an interview are behavioural issues that greatly increase the risk of the person being vulnerable
  • ensure that if an individual has been prescribed medication , that they have adhered to their prescription plan prior to any interview.

ADHD is often an ignored disorder in the justice system.  It is your responsibility, when faced with the challenge of dealing with a sufferer, to get their welfare and the policing processes right, in accordance with PACE and the needs of the person.

Supporting...

www.addiss.co.uk/ www.chadd.org/