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Historically, AA provision has been heavily focused on custody, where most interviews have taken place. This has had an impact on scheme decisions around who is best placed to take on the role and in what locations recruitment effort should be focused. Equally, the trend towards voluntary interviews is likely to impact on these decisions.

It is important to determine both current practice and any planned changes that may affect the locations in which AAs will be required. This should be done in partnership with the police force.

The location of custody suites should be mapped. The area to be covered by the AA scheme may consist of lots of small police station stations or one or two larger facilities. Not all police stations have custody facilities. 

Developers should engage with the police force to understand future strategy and trends in relation to the police estate. Are custody locations likely to change? For example, in several areas, a number of local custody facilities are being closed in favour of one or two large custody centres serving a large area. Often this involves custody moving from town centres to more rural locations. This can have a significant effect on the design and running of AA schemes, for example in relation to recruitment drives and travel methods/expenses.

The British Transport Police is a non-territorial police force. Its officers typically rely on use of the custody suites of local police forces. Scheme developers should consider what level of demand this might generate on a local AA scheme. 

on Friday December 08 by chrisbath
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Police practice in relation to the location and processes for interviews varies. This may be the result of practice that has developed organically, local policy or simply the availability of equipment. It is important to understand whether voluntary interviews are occurring:

  • in police stations with custody suites (all or specific ones?)
  • in police stations (all or specific ones?)
  • in other establishments (e.g. youth offending team offices)
  • in private homes.
on Friday December 08 by chrisbath
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Dedicated TACT detention suites cover large areas. If one of these suites is located in the area of the intended AA scheme, provision for terrorism cases will need to be considered as part of development or commissioning.

tact regions

[Image provided courtesy of the Independent Custody Visiting Association]

TACT Suites

There is a designated TACT suite serving each of the following regions: North East, North West, West Midlands, South East, London. We are unable to identify the exact locations in this resource for security reasons. Commissioners who are unaware of the location of the TACT custody suite that serves their region should refer to the National Police Chiefs Council's Counter Terrorism webpage and can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information. 

In addition, some PACE custody suites are 'TACT-enabled', meaning that they can be used for TACT detentions prior to a transfer to a dedicated suite. These suites will also require TACT-trained AA coverage, though on a much more rare basis.

The police will be able to provide information about which custody facilities handle TACT matters.

on Friday December 08 by chrisbath
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Occasionally, police officers may wish to conduct PACE procedures with people who are already in post-sentence custody.

It is often unclear as to who is responsible for acting as, providing, and paying for an appropriate adult in these situations. This is especially the case where the child or vulnerable adult is detained outside their home local authority. Furthermore, prison officers are not explicitly excluded from acting as appropriate adults under PACE but there may be valid concern about how a court may view their appropriateness in the role.  In some areas, AA schemes insist on vulnerable suspects begin brought to a police custody suite in the interests of fairness. In others, interviews in prisons and/or YOIs are supported in order to avoid vulnerable people having to travel.

Scheme developers / commissioners are advised to be explicit about how such cases will be dealt with. This should include consideration of police force policy on when it is appropriate to interview a person in a prison or YOI, rather than bringing them to a custody suite.

In relation to children, the Youth Justice Board states, “Each YOT has a legal duty to provide appropriate adults for all those who need them within the geographical area they cover. This is irrespective of the specific location or the home area of the child”.

In relation to vulnerable adults the situation is less clear. However, under the Care Act 2014 (England) and Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, local authorities are responsible for assessing and meeting the social care needs of adult prisoners while they are in custody. For this purpose, people in prisons are in effect deemed ordinarily resident in the local authority in which the prison is located.

National Resources

Ministry of Justice: Prison finder and prison map  

Youth Justice Board: Appropriate adults: guide for youth justice professionals

Legislation: Care Act 2014 s.76

Legislation: Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 s. 185

on Friday December 08 by chrisbath
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A person who is detained in a custody suite, or is asked to attend voluntarily, may be ordinarily resident in a different local authority area, or police force area. This can generate confusion in relation to AA provision, either around where the police should source the AA or who should ultimately pay for that provision.

Scheme developers / commissioners are advised to be explicit about how this will be dealt with.

In relation to children, the Youth Justice Board states, “Each YOT has a legal duty to provide appropriate adults for all those who need them within the geographical area they cover. This is irrespective of the specific location or the home area of the child”.

National Resources

Youth Justice Board: Appropriate adults: guide for youth justice professionals 

on Friday December 08 by chrisbath
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