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Appropriate Adult Scheme

The Appropriate Adult Scheme is designed to support vulnerable adults in Warwickshire who have contact with the police, to safeguard their interests, rights, entitlements and welfare.

‘Appropriate adults’ are members of the public who volunteer to ensure people with mental ill-health, learning difficulties and autism are treated fairly when they are interviewed by the police.

The scheme ensures that vulnerable people can understand the criminal justice process, reducing the risk of miscarriages of justice as a result of evidence being obtained from suspects which lead to unjust convictions.

In Warwickshire, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is establishing an Appropriate Adult Scheme for vulnerable people aged 18 or over. This will operate across the Warwickshire Police custody centres at Leamington Spa and Nuneaton.

Separate arrangements are already in place to provide appropriate adults to children and young people under the age of 18.

What does an appropriate adult do?

An appropriate adult can be requested to support a vulnerable person throughout some of the important stages they will go through during their stay in custody. This can include when they first receive their rights and entitlements, when they are interviewed or if they are searched, tested for drugs or DNA samples obtained. It will also include if the person is charged with an offence.

Appropriate adults can also be requested to accompany a vulnerable person at any voluntary interviews they attend.

The appropriate adult does not give legal advice. Instead he or she is there to ensure the detained person is treated fairly.

Volunteers need to be flexible and available to attend police custody facilities at short notice.

You can find out more about the role on the National Appropriate Adult Network website.