An appropriate adult is responsible for protecting or ‘safeguarding’ the rights and welfare of a child or ‘vulnerable’ adult.
The child – or vulnerable adult – is either detained by police or is being interviewed under caution voluntarily at the time of contact.
Although there is no legal duty to provide Appropriate Adults, the Police and Crime Commissioner has agreed to continue to fund the service.
This is to increase public confidence in the justice system. In addition, it is make sure people identified as vulnerable and detained by police or interviewed under caution are given their rights and entitlements.
During the previous 24 months, Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind has delivered and developed a successful 24/7 Appropriate Adult service covering the Cleveland area.
Between 1 April 2017 and 31 December 2017, 297 individuals have been supported by the Appropriate Adult Service. This amounts to 365.5 hours-worth of support.
At the end of December 2017, the service had 36 active volunteers. This ensured the service remained accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The purpose of this decision is to continue funding for 12 months (1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019.) There is an option to extend for a further 12 months (1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020) subject to discussions taking place at a national level, as highlighted below.
Future of the service
In September 2017, Nick Hurd MP wrote to PCCs regarding current work taking place at a national level to improve arrangements in Appropriate Adult provision for vulnerable people detained in police custody in England and Wales.
As highlighted above, although local authorities are required to provide Appropriate Adult provision statutorily for children and young people, it remains unclear as to where responsibility lies for adults.
As a result of this in January 2018, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on behalf of PCCs responded to Nick Hurd MP raising these concerns but supporting the development of a national framework. At the time of making this decision, no further feedback has been received.
This supports the PCC’s objective of Securing the Future of our Communities by ensuring public confidence in the justice system.