Redbridge Youth Offending Service

Appropriate Adult Policy

  1. Introduction

1.1This document has been developed to provide a clear and coherent policy on the provision of appropriate adults by the Youth Offending Service (YOS). Consultation on this policy has taken place with the Youth Offending Service management team, the police, Children’s Trust Out of Hours Team (OOHT) and Community Duty and Information Team (for simplicity, to be referred to as Adult Social Services team) all of whom have an interest in the provision of and use of appropriate adults. The policy was written with reference to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) and various existing YOS documents in December 2012.

1.2The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 Code of Practice lays down guidelines for the detention of prisoners at the Police Station, to ensure the detainee is treated fairly. According to PACE, “‘Appropriate Adult’ means a responsible adult aged 18 or over who is not a Police Officer or employed by the Police” Code of Practice C Para 1.7

1.3The role of the appropriate adult is to ensure that the detainee is being dealt with fairly, that procedures are being followed correctly, and to help and advise the young person should they need it.

  1. Use of volunteers

2.1The YOS will be responsible for the recruitment and training of volunteers from the community, to act as appropriate adults. The YOS will ensure suitability of the volunteers, ensuring all have undergone a suitable selection process, including an enhanced Criminal Records Check, and initial training.

2.2Volunteers will be expected to act as appropriate adults for both juveniles and vulnerable adults.

2.3Individuals from across Redbridge’s diverse community will be actively encouraged to volunteer as appropriate adults.

2.4The YOS will provide volunteers with ongoing Supervision and training opportunities to ensure quality and consistency of practice.

2.5The YOS will regularly provide OOHT and Adult Social Services with a rota detailing the availability of volunteer appropriate adults.

2.6Volunteers will not be called to cases involving offences of Murder, Manslaughter, Rape or Serious Assaults. In those circumstances, the YOS, Adult Social Services or OOHT will provide a suitably qualified member of staff.

2.7Please see Redbridge Youth Offending & Targeted Prevention Service’s Volunteer Policy for further details regarding the use of volunteers.

3Appropriate adults for young people

3.1In the case of young people aged 16 or below, the parent is generally considered the most appropriate person to attend the police station. This includes a representative from the local authority if the person is looked-after. Language difficulties on the part of the parent/carerareNOT a reason to call the appropriate adultscheme. In this instance, police should call an interpreter for the parent and proceed with their assistance.

3.2The YOS and OOHT shall be responsible for providing appropriate adults for young people aged 16 or below if:

  • The police have been unable to contact a parent, responsible family member or carer or;
  • The parent, responsible family member or carer has refused to act as an appropriate adult or;
  • The parent, responsible family member or carer is deemed to be unsuitable eg. they are victims, co-defendants or witnesses in the alleged offence or involved in the investigation in some other way or;
  • The young person’s parent is estranged and the young person expressly and specifically objects to their presence or;
  • The young person is in the care of a Local Authority. In this situation the young person’s Social Worker or another member of staff from the relevant Children’s Trust team should attend. If this is impossible the YOS will endeavour to provide a volunteer AA.

3.3The YOS or OOHT will also provide an appropriate adult for young persons of 17 years of age who have a mental health disorder or learning disability, where the degree of the disorder is such that the person would have difficulty in understanding or communicating with the police AND that person is currently receiving support or treatment from the NHS or a Social Services department. Appropriate adult support would also be provided in cases where there was illiteracy, historic mental illness or a mild learning difficulty.

3.4The police will make every effort to contact a parent, responsible family member or carer and will advise the YOS or OOHT of enquiries made. This will include whether a parent, family member or carer will become available in future.

3.5Between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm, the YOS will be responsible for the provision of appropriate adults in the above circumstances. If a volunteer is unavailable, a member of staff from the YOS will attend.

3.6Between the hours of 4.30pm and 9am, the OOHT will be responsible for providing an appropriate adult in the circumstances outlined in 3.1 or 3.2. Again, if a volunteer is unavailable, a member of OOHT staff will attend.

3.7Therefore if a young person aged 16 or below requires an appropriate adult, the relevant police officer should contact the YOS between 9am-4.30pm or the OOHT between 4.30pm-9am.

3.8If a young person is known to the Children’s Trust but not looked-after, the young person’s Social Worker or an alternative member of their team is the preferred person to attend. If this is impossible, the YOS or OOHT will endeavour to provide someone.

4Vulnerable Adults

4.1Appropriate adults may also be required when the detainee is a vulnerable adult. ‘If an officer has any suspicion, or is told in good faith, that a person of any age may be mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable, in the absence of clear evidence to dispel that suspicion, that person shall be treated as such.’ (PACE 1984 Code of Practice C para 1.4)

If a person appears to be blind, seriously visually impaired, deaf, unable to read or speak or has difficulty orally because of a speech impediment they shall be treated as such…in the absence of clear evidence to the contrarary’. (PACE Code of Practice 1984 para 1.6).

4.2In these circumstances, between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm, Adult Social Serviceswill be responsible for providing the appropriate adult.

4.3Between the hours of 4.30pm and 9am, OOHT shall be responsible.

4.4Therefore if a vulnerable adult requires an appropriate adult, the relevant police officer should contact the ADULT SOCIAL SERVICES between 9am-4.30pm or the OOHT between 4.30pm-9am

4.5Again, if a volunteer is unavailable, a member of staff from Adult Social Services or OOHT will attend.

4.6When an appropriate adult is required for a vulnerable adult during the hours of 9am and 4.30pm, Adult Social Services will check whether the detained person is known to any relevant service, for example as the Mental Health or Learning Disabilities team. They will then decide whether to override the police and call out an approved Social Worker or call out a volunteer.


5.1The YOS, OOHT or Adult Social Services will aim for an appropriate adult to arrive within 2 hours of any request. Having arrived at the Police Station and notified the police of their arrival, the appropriate adult should be able to carry out their duties within 20 minutes. If there is a delay beyond 20 minutes the appropriate adult will contact the Custody Officer to ascertain the reasons for the delay. If this is simply due to a private consultation taking place between the young person and a legal representative, the Custody Officer will consider interrupting this to advise of the arrival of the appropriate adult. Following a delay of over 20 minutes consideration should be given to allowing the appropriate adult to leave the police station, either to return later or if this is not possible, as new appropriate adult should be sought.

5.2Where a young person has requested a legal representative, the Police should not, unless exceptional circumstances apply, request the attendance of an appropriate adult before the arrival of a legal representative. The Police will seek to plan the arrival of the respective parties to ensure proper use of time and resources.

5.3Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the OOHT will not attend for an interview after 2am and will seek justification for their attendance at interviews after midnight.

6Legal representation

6.1In all cases, the appropriate adult will encourage the detained person to take advice from a legal representative.

6.2‘In the case of a juvenile, an appropriate adult should consider whether legal advice from a solicitor is required. If the juvenile indicates that they do not want legal advice, the appropriate adult has the right to ask a solicitor to attend, if this would be in the best interests of the person. However, the detained person can not be forced to see the solicitor if he is adamant that he does not wish to do so’. (PACE 1984 Code of Practice C para 6.5A)

7Refusal of Bail

7.1 If a young person is refused bail by the police, the appropriate adult should contact the service who arranged for them to attend (the YOS or OOHT) to discuss the provision of a bail bed.

8Discharge of Duty

8.1Once their PACE responsibilities have been discharged, the appropriate adult will leave the Custody Suite. The YOS and OOHT are not responsible for transporting the young person to their home address. If the Police are unable to take the young person, the YOT will arrange a mini-cab to transport the young person. Unless exceptional circumstances apply, the parent, carer or responsible adult will be informed of this in advance and will be required to pay the costs.

8.2The appropriate adult need not always be present for charging / bail although it is best practice. If there is likely to be a long delay between conclusion of interview and charge, consideration should be made whether the appropriate adult should be relinquished. There is no compulsion on an individual appropriate adultto stay or to return for charge. PACE 1984 Codes Of Practice - C subsection 16C states there is no power to detain a person and delay action solely to await the arrival of the appropriate adult.

Policy Review Schedule

Policy last reviewed / December 2012
Next review date / December 2013