What is an Appropriate Adult?

  • An Appropriate Adult is a volunteer, 18 years of age or over, who assists and advises a detained person during their stay in a custody suite. They act independently from the police and ensure that all the necessary processes are being conducted properly and fairly.

What is the purpose and why are Appropriate Adults needed?

  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) requires that an appropriate adult shall be present when a juvenile (someone under 18) or vulnerable adult is being interviewed by the police.In most cases the appropriate adult will be somebody known to the detained person such as a relative or carer. However, there are times when these people are unable/unwilling to attend the custody suite, and in these cases the police will call on another independent, responsible adult.

What does an Appropriate Adult do?

  • The role of the Appropriate Adult is to:

    Advise and assist the person being interviewed

    Observe whether or not the interview is being conducted properly and fairly

    Facilitate communication between the police and the person being interviewed

    A report/monitoring form is completed in respect of each call-out and submitted to the Service as soon after the call-out as possible. Any points or issues of concern will then be followed up with the relevant agency and/or volunteer.

    Matters requiring urgent attention (e.g. safeguarding concerns) should be reported as soon as possible to the Young Lives Foundation.

What sort of people do we help?

  • Appropriate Adults are called to help young people under the age of 18 and adults whom the police feel are vulnerable. A vulnerable adult may have learning difficulties or have a mental health problem.

How much time do I need to give and when will I be required?

  • Volunteers are asked to cover an average of 8 occasions of use a month. Appropriate Adults are used between 08:30 and 22:00 (unless in exceptional circumstances) with most demand during the daytime. The service operates around your availability. Volunteers will be asked to attend their nearest custody suites.

How much will it cost me?

  • Nothing, other than your time. All authorised expenses are reimbursed, including travel.

How will I know what to do and what not to do?

  • All volunteers undertake full training comprising:

    Seminars/briefing sessions on legislation, policy and practice

    Study of PACE Codes of Practice

    A period of shadowing an experienced volunteer

    A period of attachment to an experienced volunteer in which the trainee takes the lead under supervision.

    There is a handbook provided and continuing training opportunities throughout the time as an Appropriate Adult.

What if I need help?

  • Telephone back-up is available whilst you are at the police station. We are also available by email and phone to answer any queries you might have at other times.

Do I get to meet other Appropriate Adults?

  • You will meet a number of Appropriate Adults during your training, who will act as your mentors; and we have at least one gathering a year to which all Appropriate Adults are invited.