Brain injury survivors to be helped in custody

21 July 2017

Headway charity brain injury identity card

A new scheme helping brain injury survivors is to be promoted in the custody arena by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

The initiative, which was launched yesterday (20 July) by the Headway charity and HRH Prince Harry, will see special identity cards being issued to people who have suffered brain injuries.

Andrew Ward, Deputy General Secretary and Custody lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This is an excellent initiative which will particularly help custody officers and other operational police officers to identify those who might have had a brain injury.

“It will enable them to give particular support and assistance to members of the public affected by this type of injury and act as a cue to seek an appropriate adult or further medical advice for those who have been detained. The Federation is proud to support this valuable and important scheme.”

Mr Ward, who also represents the police service on the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN), added: “The scheme may also assist some of the thousands of police officers who are injured every year in the line of duty, many of them seriously.”

The Brain Injury Identity Card was launched by Prince Harry at Headway’s Ipswich centre in Suffolk following successful pilots across the UK. It is also supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Police Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, NAAN and the NHS.
Speaking at the launch to brain injury survivors Prince Harry said: “This surely is a life-changing moment for people with a traumatic brain injury, whether or not they ever get arrested. This card is a saving grace for you guys and for the police as well. ”

Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: “The hidden effects of brain injury can often lead to misunderstandings and difficulties. Many people are assumed to be drunk as a result of having slurred speech or an unsteady gait, with attempts to explain the effects of their brain injury often being ignored. The card is designed to help the police to identify survivors at the earliest opportunity, ensuring they receive suitable support and are diverted away from the criminal justice system where appropriate. It’s a simple solution to a tricky conversation.”

The Federation will promote the new scheme via its national network of local Custody Representatives and through its annual National Custody Seminar & Exhibition, which this year is being held on 12th & 13th September.