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An Appropriate Adult is different to a solicitor and does not give legal advice. An Appropriate Adult can be a family member, friend or a volunteer or social / health care professional. Our Appropriate Adult Service is an independent support service for any vulnerable adult who comes into contact with the Criminal Justice System, whether as an alleged offender, victim or witness of a crime.
Facilitate communication between the vulnerable person and the police.
Support and advice to the vulnerable person.
If the custody officer considers someone to be vulnerable he or she has a duty to request the attendance of an Appropriate Adult. Further interviews with the person in custody cannot go ahead without an Appropriate Adult present. The role of the Appropriate Adult is to provide:
Have a learning disability or difficulty communicating and understanding things.
Have mental health difficulties.
Be aged less than 17 years.
An appropriate adult should be someone who is completely independent of the police and, where possible the interviewee. They should have a sound understanding of, and experience or training in, dealing with the needs of juveniles or mentally disordered people.
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The Appropriate Adult role was created by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 with the intention of safeguarding the rights and welfare of vulnerable young people and adults in police custody. When someone is arrested and taken to a police station it is the responsibility of the custody officer (usually a police sergeant) to identify if the person is vulnerable. Those considered vulnerable are anyone who is, or appears (to the custody officer) to: