The Role of the Appropriate Adult
Following the arrest and detention of a young person or vulnerable adult in Police Custody, a responsible adult, known as the Appropriate Adult, is required to represent the interests of that person (the detainee) for various purposes, including:
- being present when the detainee is informed of their rights;
- being present at interviews regarding alleged offences;
- being present at identification procedures and intimate or strip searches, and
- being present when the detainee is charged with an offence.
In the case of a young person, it would be usual for parents, guardians, or those with parental responsibility to undertake the duties of the Appropriate Adult, and they should be encouraged to do so by the Police. Volunteer Appropriate Adults will only be asked to attend if this proves to be impossible, impracticable or if there is a conflict of interest.
In the case of a vulnerable adult, a relative, carer or Social Worker will be the first choice to undertake the duties of the Appropriate Adult. Volunteer Appropriate Adults will only be asked to attend if this proves not to be possible.
No person, whether a parent or not, should act as the Appropriate Adult if they:
- are suspected of involvement in the offence;
- are the victim or a witness;
- are involved in the investigation, and
- receive an admission prior to attending Custody to act as the Appropriate Adult.
The role of the Appropriate Adult is to safeguard the detainee’s rights, interests and welfare, and to minimise the risk of interviews producing unreliable evidence. The Appropriate Adult should ensure that the detainee is treated correctly; and that the detainee understands, as fully as possible, what is happening in Police Custody.
SAAVS Appropriate Adult volunteers receive full induction training and there are regular quarterly and annual refresher training meetings throughout the year. Volunteers also have full support from the Office personnel and direct access to the Scheme Manager at all times should any problems arise.
SAAVS volunteers receive compensation for travelling and other out of pocket expenses incurred in the performance of their role.