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H03 The Appropriate Adult Service (AAS)

1. Security protective marking

1.1 Not protectively marked.

2. Summary of changes

2.1. The following changes were made to this policy on 21 March 2013:


  • Updated at section 5.1 to clarify Appropriate Adult Service (AAS) attendance;
  • Paragraph 5.5 highlights awareness of time constraints.

2.2. This policy is due for review in June 2015.

3. Application

3.1. This policy applies to:


  • All police officers and custody staff.


4. Purpose

4.1. The purpose of this policy is to outline the the Appropriate Adult Service (AAS) which is a scheme that has been developed and paid for by Kent County Council (KCC) Social Services. It is made up from volunteers who give their services for nothing. To ensure that this vital service is not abused the following policy has been devised to give officers advice and guidance on the use of the Appropriate Adults Service.

4.2.  The AAS must be used for juveniles, mentally disordered or mentally vulnerable detainees as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Code 1984 (PACE) Codes of Practice, code C 1.4. See Codes of Practice Code C 3.20.


5. The Appropriate Adult service 

5.1.  Appropriate Adults must only be called via Social Services on 0845 7626777. Under no circumstances must they be called out directly. If an Appropriate Adult is already present at a police station when another person is detained who will require one, then the Appropriate Adult may be approached directly to establish if they are able to provide a service for the additional detainee. If they are, the AAS must be advised immediately that the Appropriate Adult has another detainee to represent together with all the relevant details of that detainee. If they are not available to assist, another Appropriate Adult should be requested in the normal way.

    • Members of the AAS will not attend the home address or any other location, other than a police station;
    • AAs will attend police stations and take part in non custodial services;
    • AA will not take part in the Restorative Justice (RJ) process.

 5.2. Custody Sergeants are responsible for ensuring that the parent/guardian/relative contacted to act as Appropriate Adult is in fact 'appropriate'  and able to properly represent the interests of the detainee. If there are any doubts as to an individual's suitability e.g. that there may be concerns over the individual's ability to understand the processes in Custody, then an Appropriate Adult must be called from the AAS to represent the detainee. Their presence can be in addition to that of the category of person already mentioned. This requirement is to ensure and protect the rights of the detainee

5.3.  The AAS must only be used when all efforts to obtain a parent/guardian/relative have been exhausted.

5.4.  There will be times when a parent/guardian/relative is able to attend but there is going to be a delay in their attendance. If given, all the circumstances the delay is not unreasonable (in terms of the interests of the detained person and the investigation) then the services of the AAS should not be used. This decision should be made by the Custody Sergeant, who will note and record the reasons why on the custody record.

5.5.  When an Appropriate Adult is requested, an indication of the time they are required to attend the police station should be given i.e. just before interview or other activity requiring their presence such as intimate samples. This is intended to avoid an Appropriate Adult wasting time at a police station.  Officers should also bear this in in mind when requesting an AA to attend a bail return.

5.6.  If a detained person cannot read, is deaf or is blind or seriously visually impaired, but that person is not one of the categories requiring an appropriate adult (i.e. juveniles and mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable), then the person assisting the prisoner to write or check documentation is not required to be an appropriate adult. The person giving assistance could be the prisoners solicitor, a relative, or anyone likely to take an interest in him/her (and not involved in the investigation).

5.7.  Consideration should be given to giving juveniles their rights when detention is authorised, as well as on the arrival of the Appropriate Adult in accordance with PACE. (Code C 3.17) This will help to prevent an Appropriate Adult wasting time at the police station awaiting the arrival of a solicitor. An Appropriate Adult may now request the attendance of a solicitor on behalf of a juvenile in police detention.

5.7.1  In the case of a person who is a juvenile or is mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable, an Appropriate Adult should consider whether legal advice from a solicitor is required.

5.7.2  If the person indicates that they do not want legal advice, the Appropriate Adult has the right to ask for a solicitor to attend if this would be in the best interest of the person.
However, the person cannot be forced to see the solicitor if they are adamant that they do not wish to do so.

5.8.  Only in exceptional circumstances must the services of the AAS be utilised between the hours of 2200hrs and 0700 hours. In such circumstances the duty Inspector must authorise the attendance of the AA and his/her details must be provided when the request is made.

5.9.  If a detainee appears to be suffering from a mental disorder, Kent Police Forensic Nurse Practitioner or a Police Surgeon must be called and their advice sought regarding the need for an Appropriate Adult. If the Nurse or Police Surgeon states that an Appropriate Adult is required then Codes of Practice, Code C 1.7 (b) must be strictly adhered to, and the services of the AAS must only be utilised if (i) or (ii) of the above Code cannot be found.

5.10.  Where the Officer In Charge (OIC) and AA agree on a pre-arranged bail date the following responsibilities must be adhered to:-

      • The AA is responsible for updating the call centre with the time and date of the appointment.
      • The OIC must provide the AA with a contact number and update the AA with any changes/cancellations to the original appointment.

5.11.  If two adults are to be present at the interview (e.g. a father who does not speak good English and a family friend who speaks English and is invited to help the father), it is important that one of them is identified as the AA and fully aware of the associated duties.

5.11.1  (Code C 16C) There is now a requirement that the appropriate adult is present prior to charging a juvenile or vulnerable adult: If necessary the detainee should be bailed to enable the Appropriate Adult to attend; the exception is if the appropriate adult is not available and the detainee is to be refused bail.

5.11.2  There is no power under PACE to detain a person and delay action under paragraphs 16.2 to 16.5 soley to await the arrival of the Appropriate Adult. Reasonable efforts should therefore be made to give the Appropriate Adult sufficient notice of the time the decision (charge etc) is to be implemented so that they can be present. If the Appropriate Adult is not or cannot be present at the time, the detainee should be released on bail to return for the decision to be implemented when the Appropriate Adult is present, unless the custody officer determines that the absence of the Appropriate Adult makes the detainee unsuitable for bail for this purpose.

5.11.3  After charge, bail cannot be refused or release on bail delayed simply because an Appropriate Adult is not available, unless the absence of that Appropriate Adult provides the custody officer with the necessary grounds to authorise detention after charge under PACE section 38.

5.11.4  There is a requirement that custody staff should contact the local authority to arrange accommodation for  juveniles refused bail and therefore that juvenile should be transferred to local authority care:

Unless: A) For any juvenile, it is impracticable to do so, or
           B) In the case of a juvenile of at least 12 years old, no secure accommodation is available and  other accommodation would not be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from that juvenile.

5.11.5  If arrangements for a juvenile transfer into local authority care are not made, the custody officer must record the reasons in a certificate (Form 3191), which must be produced before the court with the juvenile.

5.12.  Where it is necessary to breath test a juvenile, in order to obtain a sample for analysis, the custody officer has a duty to arrange for the attendance of an appropriate adult, but does not have to wait for that person to arrive before commencing the testing procedure.

5.13.  The police have a reasonable duty of care to AA’s, particularly volunteers, if they are to hear traumatic and graphic details of grave crimes. In such circumstances officers should consider:-

      • Giving warnings to the appropriate adult prior to the interview (if the likely nature of the interview is obvious) and;
      • Offering professional counselling after the event.


6. Authorised Professional Practice

6.1. For further information on the Appropriate Adult Service please see the Authorised Professional Practice guidance by clicking on the subheadings 'Children and Young People' and then 'Appropriate Adults'.

7. Equality impact assessment


7.1. This policy has been assessed with regard to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a medium potential impact.


7.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

Policy reference: H03 The Appropriate Adult Service (AAS)
Policy owner: Chief Superintendent. Head of Central Investigation Command
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 653298
Date last reviewed: 25 October 2012
Document last saved: 22 March 2013