New Autism Alert Card welcomed by MP

April 24, 2009 9:19 AM

David HowarthA new scheme designed to alert the police to the special needs of autism sufferers has been welcomed by Cambridge MP David Howarth.

The Autism Alert Card gives officers and other emergency service personnel some personal information about the holders, along with numbers of carers and advice on how to deal with them appropriately.

It is being launched after a young man was arrested in Cambridge last year by officers who failed to recognise that he was autistic.

Mr Howarth was contacted by his family and discussed the matter with Cambridgeshire Police Chief Constable, Julie Spence.

As a result of their meeting, the man was provided with a card carrying the Cambridgeshire crest giving any officer with whom he came in contact, information about him.

Now the Autism Alert Card, run in conjunction with Anglia Autism, is being launched across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire on April 30 at Cambridge Rugby Club.

The scheme is funded by the three county police forces so that the card can be supplied free to individuals suffering from Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Mr Howarth, who has backed a move to introduce the first-ever autism law, putting a duty on councils and the NHS to look after people with autism, said the new Autism Alert Card was "very welcome".

He said: "This is an excellent scheme. It is vital that people understand what it means to be autistic and this card provides essential information which should ensure that they are treated properly.

"These are vulnerable people who need our help and I would like to see this scheme rolled out nationally eventually."

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