A “TEMPORARY granny” is just one of the hero volunteers helping to run a vital service to safeguard the vulnerable in police custody.
Ann Davies, 78, of Eston, is just one of a team of volunteers managed by charity Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, who help to run the appropriate adult service.
Appropriate Adults are volunteers, who safeguard the interests, rights and welfare of vulnerable people involved in police procedures.
People detained in police custody may have mental health problems, learning difficulties or substance misuse issues. Often their problems are complex and challenging.
Volunteer of the year
Ann won volunteer of the year at this year’s Cleveland Police Awards. She has been volunteering as an Appropriate Adult for the past seven years.
The retired catering manager normally signs up for five, six-hour shifts each week – plus any extra duties, which the service requires.
Ann said: “I love it! You meet so many different people, which is so interesting.
“I always use a bit of my experience when I’m talking to clients. When I visit custody, I tell clients that “I’ve just come along as a temporary granny for a little while.” That usually gets me a smile or a hug and it gives us a nice break.”
An Impressive record
Impressive figures for the first three quarters of 2022-23 show that:
- Appropriate Adults supported 1,484 clients through the investigations’ process
- Of the 1,484 clients, a large proportion (823) had mental health needs. A further 246 saying they had learning difficulties
- Many clients (275) had combined and complex needs including mental health issues and substance misuse.
- Appropriate Adult volunteers clocked up more than 2,600 hours between January and December 2022. That’s the equivalent of more than 108 full, 24-hour days.
Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind won Community Organisation of the year at the same police awards’ ceremony.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “Appropriate Adults’ double victory at the recent awards shows how well respected the service is within both policing and the criminal justice system.
“It is a vital service, which helps to protect some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“One of my first duties in this role was to present Appropriate Adults with certificates recognising their contribution to the criminal justice system in Cleveland.
“I was impressed by not only their expertise in often very challenging situations but also by their commitment to running the service 24/7.”
Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind has just been commissioned by the OPCC to run the service for a further two years with the option to extend for an additional year.
The new contract represents longer-term funding – and more stability – for the service.
As a result, the charity is now looking for extra volunteers willing to lend a hand.
Vickey Teasdale, Appropriate Adult Team Lead, said: “To be recognised with the award is testament to the commitment and passion of our volunteers.
“Working collaboratively with Cleveland Police enables us to help those vulnerable adults in need. We are continually improving the way we operate to ensure the highest possible standards of support.
“Our partnership has grown and evolved throughout its history. Working together, we have been able to provide an exceptional service which benefits hundreds of local people every year.
“Our volunteers are simply amazing, and we couldn’t be prouder of their continued dedication to this service, Cleveland Police and, of course, the people they are supporting.”