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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Devon & Cornwall officers and staff attend the House of Lords to launch the Police National Dyslexia Association

Officers and staff from Devon & Cornwall Police have taken part in a national event to launch the Police National Dyslexia Association (PNDA).

Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell, Assistant Chief Officer Alexis Poole, Sergeant Maria Canning and Police Constable Chris Walton-Tate travelled to the House of Lords on Tuesday 20 February 2023 to join representatives from forces across the country.

The PNDA is a privately run association comprising of UK police officers and staff and aims to support police colleagues with dyslexia and other neurodivergent conditions, while promoting awareness and learning. Their purpose is to create a safe space for police employees to be heard and ask for help without fear of judgement. They also offer advice on best practice, support and reasonable adjustments, and help individuals and forces find the best support for people with dyslexia.

Leading the association is Sergeant Canning as chair and founders PC Chris Walton-Tate and Christian Blair, a member of police staff from Thames Valley Police.

The event was supported by the President of the British Dyslexia Association, Lord Addington, Sergeant John Nelson, Chair of the National Police Autism Association and Kate Griggs, CEO of Made by Dyslexia. The event also heard from senior officers and staff from police forces across the country.

The event was supported by the President of the British Dyslexia Association, Lord Addington, as well as other senior leaders from across the country, dyslexia advocates and other network leads.

Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “I was honoured to have attended this event and show my support in driving a national change in policing around neurodiversity.
“I was particularly proud as it has been spearheaded by our own officers, Sergeant Maria Canning and PC Chris Walton Tate, along with colleagues from Thames Valley and West Midlands, all with their own lived experiences of dyslexia.
“We all must be the driving force behind changing the stigma and labels associated with dyslexia and other neurodiversity by promoting a better understanding and acceptance for a neurodivergent workforce. By changing the view that ‘one size fits all’, we can all be more inclusive, allowing everybody to succeed and thrive in their roles.”
Sergeant Maria Canning said: “Being part of building this association has been a privilege. I have my own lived experience with dyslexia as do a lot of other people, both in and out of police organisations.
“For too long the term dyslexia has come with a stigma around ‘a person can’t read or write properly’. We aim to change that, as dyslexia is a processing condition that affects a lot of other things, not just the way someone reads or writes. The benefits of ‘dyslexic thinking’ are incredible if, understood correctly.
“Dyslexic people bring great value to an organisation and can truly flourish in the right environment. Embrace your dyslexia, understand your staff and support a neurodivergent workforce, the future is now.”

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:

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