City of London Police is launching a pilot which will provide fast-track ADHD diagnoses for individuals in custody.
A questionnaire of 18 questions will be used for every individual as early as the point of booking in and the results of the questionnaire will demonstrate whether there is no chance, it’s possible or highly likely that that individual has ADHD.
The questionnaire is based on an online international ADHD test but has been simplified and checked by psychiatrists.
Then, an assessment will be made as to whether such a diagnosis would have a significant impact on the case and, if so, one of the UK’s leading ADHD second choice providers, who provides assessments on behalf of the NHS, will fast-track diagnosis within one to two weeks.
Anna Rice, Detective Chief Inspector from 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.”
She added: “This comes right after we were the first in the country to have successfully used a new Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental Checklist when dealing with suspects.
“People’s mental health is very important to us and we’ll continue to champion initiatives that secures the most appropriate outcome for those suspects with neurodiversity whilst obtaining positive outcomes for the victims.”
Sarah Templeton, CEO of ADHD Liberty, said on LinkedIn: “Screening for ADHD in police stations and prisons isn’t just life-altering and life-changing, but on occasions lifesaving.
“A mental health nurse who has worked in the prison service for 20 years estimates 85% of offenders in prison have ADHD.
“The vast majority of these do not know they have it because they have never been screened or assessed.
“Those who do know have often been diagnosed as children and taken off the medication as teenagers, meaning their ‘risk-taking’ and ‘thrill-seeking’, ‘pushing boundaries’ and ‘loathing authority’ ADHD traits are heightened during puberty meaning they so easily get into trouble.”
“Crime rates would be dramatically reduced”
Ms Templeton continued: “Not only would screening adolescents and young people going into police stations for the first time very probably stop them getting into trouble again – it would also protect the general public because crime rates would be dramatically reduced.
“It will also reduce costs spent on locking people up unnecessarily – people who have a psychiatrically diagnosed mental health condition and need medical intervention, not legal.
“ADHD is the most treatable condition there is. By simply replacing something that is missing in the brain (dopamine) we can transform the criminal justice system and there is absolutely no logical reason why this is not already happening.”
Ms Templeton also said that at least 50% of the prison population have ADHD, and she has been campaigning relentlessly for all adolescents and adults to be screened for ADHD when first entering the criminal justice system. She works closely with the police arranging ADHD screening in police stations and is working towards ADHD screening on all YOI & prison induction wings.
Daley Jones, a Met detective who has worked alongside ADHD Liberty as ADHD Alliance co-chair, said: “Official figures state 1 in 4 people in UK prisons have ADHD. Unofficial estimates suggest this is much higher (up to 75-80%) but what are we doing about this?
“The logic here is we want to be trying to stop people ending up in the prisons if you can identify EDHD early on.
“As someone who’s medicated for ADHD – I’m lucky I’ve not gone down a criminal path, but I can attest to the positive impact it’s had on my own life.
“It’s the traits of ADHD that can get someone into trouble if they’re not managed.”
According to the studies if ADHD is recognised in prisons and ‘managed appropriately’, there can be a reduction in criminality of 32% for men and 41% for women.
Ms Templeton said: “Doing this protects the public, it saves the government money, and it changes and saves ADHD people’s lives in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.”
(Source: Police Oracle)