What are the key considerations on operating hours?
Scheme developers /commissioners should carefully consider:
- the statutory duty of local authorities to ensure provision for children;
- the operating hours required to achieve the outcomes of AA provision;
- the costs associated with provision and co-ordination/backup;
- how situations will be handled in which an AA determines that it is not fair to conduct a procedure (such as an interview) with a vulnerable person at a given time (such as in the middle of the night);
- what steps can be taken to ensure cases involving vulnerable suspects are expedited.
Data on demand levels in custody by time/day (gained during the assessment of demand phase) can be useful in judging what level of provision will be required. However, it should be remembered that this data is historical, and therefore represents practice in the context of existing AA provision. It may be necessary to get more qualitative data to understand how police behaviour might change if AAs were available at any time.