I read a story in the paper about a young man called Josh who has learning disabilities. He was at the swimming baths with his friends and support workers. He was in his clothes at the side of the pool and he was enjoying looking at the water. He was in his own dream world, another word for this is a ‘trance’. The pool staff rang the police because they wanted him to stop doing it.
This is when things started to go really wrong for Josh. The police and pool staff didn’t listen to the support staff, they tried to get Josh to stop but this scared him and he jumped into the pool. After he got out of the pool the police put handcuffs on him and tied up his feet, and then they put him in the police van.
He was all wet and very frightened and they left him all on his own.
Josh and his family were very upset and angry about what happened so they took the police to court. The judge agreed that the police were guilty and had discriminated against Josh. Another way to say this is that they were not fair to him. The judge said that the police had to pay some money to them. Josh and his family are pleased the court said the police are guilty but they really want the police to say sorry.
Since this happened every time Josh hears a police siren he gets very upset and frightened. He doesn’t like going swimming anymore. His epilepsy is worse because he is so upset about it.
I think the police need to learn more about working with people who have a learning disability, they need some training!
The police don’t want to say sorry because they want to take it back to court. We disagree, we think the police should say sorry and admit they made a mistake.
What if Josh is a victim of a hate crime? The police are saying they want disabled people to speak up about being bullied but this will be very hard for Josh after his terrible experience.