Autistic girl arrested over ‘lesbian nanna’ comment to face no further action, police say

A 16-year-old autistic girl arrested for comparing a police officer to her lesbian grandmother is to face no further action, West Yorkshire police have confirmed.

A TikTok clip recorded by her mother, Lisa Rozycki, shows the girl being detained by seven police officers for an alleged public order offence on Monday (7 August).

After the 16-year-old said one of the officers “looked like her nanna, who is a lesbian”, the officer in question “took it the wrong way and said it was homophobic”.

Officers then detained her outside her home in Leeds, with her mother saying she had started having “panic attacks” from being grabbed by police, who she called “bullies in uniform.

The clip quickly went viral and garnered widespread criticism, with users calling it “one of the most uncomfortable videos I’ve had to watch”.

UK , this may be one of the most uncomfortable videos I’ve had to watch. This is what hate speech legislation that prioritises certain groups over others, looks like in action, poor child @HMcEntee #binthebill

— KellyS (@SineadKelly113) August 9, 2023

A Friday (11 August) statement from West Yorkshire police revealed that no further action was to be taken against the girl.

The statement confirmed that officers had concluded the criminal investigation and that the 16-year-old was released from her bail. The family has also been updated.

Oz Khan, assistant chief constable at West Yorkshire Police, sad: “We recognise the significant level of public concern that this incident has generated, and we have moved swiftly to fully review the evidence in the criminal investigation.

“We do appreciate the understandable sensitivities around incidents involving young people and neurodiversity and we are genuinely committed to developing how we respond to these often very challenging situations.”

Khan added that a review by the station’s Professional Standard Directorate remains ongoing, but added that West Yorkshire Police would “take on board any lessons to be learned from this incident”.

On Friday, The Mirror reported that police were currently dealing with a complaint from the girl’s mother and urged people to “avoid reaching conclusions solely on the basis of the social media video”.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) has since urged the government to enforce mandatory police training to help officers understand the needs of neurodivergent individuals.

“While we can’t comment on the specifics of this case, as we don’t know all the details, autistic people can find communicating difficult and can become extremely anxious in situations they don’t understand,” Tim Nicholls, the NAS head of influencing and research, said.

“It’s essential that police officers understand autism, and that specialist support is available when needed.

“We’ve been calling for mandatory training for police officers for years, and strongly believe the government should make this happen.”

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