Cumbria Constabulary partners with the University of Salford to undertake fetal alcohol spectrum disorders training

Categories: School of Health and Society

Cumbria Constabulary has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford.

The partnership will see the university deliver ongoing training to police officers on the vulnerabilities of individuals with FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders) to, and during, encounters with the criminal justice system. FASD is a condition that can affect children as a result of drinking of alcohol in pregnancy, and can make it difficult for children to communicate, keep friendships, and stay calm and still, among other difficulties. Individuals with FASD are estimated to be 19 times more likely to encounter the police than those who don’t have FASD. 

The FASD team at the University of Salford has been ranked as the research group with the most expertise on FASD in the UK.

The memorandum of understanding is as a result of an ongoing drive by the Cumbria police force to engage with research evidence in order to enhance evidence-based policing. The partnership has been driven by Dr Rob Ewin, the Head of Learning and Development at Cumbria Constabulary. Dr Rob Ewin says that it is crucial for police officers to receive this kind of training, as: “We may as well pack up and go home if we are not competent in working with or interviewing individuals who are vulnerable.”

The training will be led by PhD student David Junior Gilbert (known as Gilbert, pictured below) from the university’s School of Health and Society. Gilbert’s PhD has investigated the vulnerabilities of individuals with FASD to, and within criminal justice encounters. The training sessions will be designed to increase understanding of FASD and how certain features of FASD present a context for vulnerability during police encounters. This will also be supported by the Association of Child Protection Professionals (AOCPP) and NationalFASD.

Gilbert says: “It is heart-warming to see the level of enthusiasm from Cumbria police in engaging with research evidence and I very much look forward to this training and to future engagement.”

David Gilbert

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