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Card launch will help people with brain injuries

A new scheme has been launched to help officers identify people who may have suffered brain injury.

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

The card is designed to help police officers and staff more easily identify brain injury survivors and ensure that they receive an appropriate response and support. Each card is personalised, helping the card holder to explain the effects of their brain injury and request any support they may need.

"Sometimes people with brain injuries are assumed to be drunk as a result of having slurred speech or an unsteady gait, and can find it difficult to explain the effects of their injury," says Matt Robinson, secretary of Leicestershire Police Federation.

"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."

Andrew Ward, deputy general secretary and custody lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "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."

Andrew, 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 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."