As a partnership develops, it will be important to clearly identify and define the expectations placed upon each partner. Each partner will have specific skills, powers and positions which they can contribute. The strategies and actions of partners, particularly the police force, can have a dramatic impact on the AA scheme. Developers should seek to define what is possible and appropriate to expect of each partner. This section provides some suggested expectations.

Leadership and partnerships

  • When developing the local Police and Crime Plan, have regard to the need for appropriate adults for both children and adults (as defined in the PACE Codes) and the nature of current provision
  • Provide the strategic link between partners, including the nomination of a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) on appropriate adults within the office of the PCC to liaise with police leads, local authority, health and other relevant partners.
  • Where a police force area covers multiple local authorities and/or clinical commissioning groups, act as a central convenor of partners.

Assessing need

  • Work with police (both custody and investigations) to understand force needs and operational requirements
  • Ensure that police needs assessments, data capture and data retrieval systems provide accurate information on the level of demand
  • Establish a demand profile to inform local authority or joint commissioning
  • Provide data on current levels, sources and quality of appropriate adults
  • Work with police local partners to estimate demand, ensuring data is fit for purpose

Monitoring and accountability

  • Hold police leaders to account for compliance with PACE (e.g. use of arrest, expediting detention, treatment of suspects, identification of need and timely contacting of AAs)
  • Monitor the percentage of detentions and voluntary interviews that include an AA against benchmark figures (100% for children; 11%-22% for adults)
  • Contribute to the monitoring and evaluation of appropriate adult provision against agreed metrics (e.g. using information Independent Custody Visitors, custody staff and service user groups)
  • Ensure police force responds to relevant findings and recommendations from HM Inspectorates 


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Leadership and partnerships

  • Nominate a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) on appropriate adults (or one each for children and adults) to ensure regular and effective communication with the office of the PCC, police leads, health and other relevant partners and to develop a shared understanding of respective roles and responsibilities
  • Work in collaboration with the PCC, health and other partners to determine the best approach to ensure sustainable, high quality AA provision in the local area, using existing frameworks (e.g. Safeguarding Boards, Health and Wellbeing Boards)
  • In partnership with the PCC, collaborate with service users (and potential service users) in the commissioning, delivery and monitoring cycle

Assessing need

  • Assess the prevalence of need drawing on data from local authority services, public heath data and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and taking account of the PACE Code C threshold/definition in relation to adults.  
  • Factor in data and analysis of force needs provided by the PCC/police force
  • Collaborate with local statutory and community groups supporting children and adults with relevant conditions and needs


  • Ensure the provision of persons to act as AAs to safeguard the interests of children and young persons detained or questioned by police officers (as required by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998)
  • Lead on the process of provision or commissioning AA services for adults, choosing approaches that deliver efficient and effective appropriate adult provision, reducing instances of non-availability and delay and ensuring high quality provision that meets the needs of children and adults

Monitoring and accountability

  • Require monitoring information (output, outcomes, quality) from relevant team or commissioned providers
  • Communicate to PCC any police policies and practices that are no-compliant with PACE or act as a barrier to effective and efficient provision of AAs
  • Regularly monitoring provision/commissioning arrangements
  • Ensure AA provision responds to relevant findings and recommendations from Inspectors (e.g. HMI Probation YOT inspections)
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  • Ensure police custody officers have had the necessary training, and can access the guidance and tools, to determine whether an AA is required for a suspect
  • Ensure officers understand the role of the AA and treat them with respect
  • Ensure custody officers (and interviewing officers in the case of voluntary attendance) comply with PACE, including contacting an AA as soon as practicable and not immediately prior to interview
  • Ensure that effective systems are in place to capture relevant data (e.g. percentage of adults detained or interviewed voluntarily identified as vulnerable adults; percentage of vulnerable adults supported by an appropriate adult; sources of appropriate adults)
  • Capture and share data on need with relevant partners to inform commissioning
  • Ensure adequate facilities are available to ensure that appropriate adults:
    • are able to speak to vulnerable adults in private
    • can wait between procedures in an appropriate location (i.e. not behind custody desk or in police canteen)
  • Ensure effective protocols and structures are in place to support partnership working (e.g. local custody forums)
  • Monitor detention times 
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  • Take reasonable steps to ascertain whether and AA is required, based on the rules in PACE Code C, including by:
    • Completing an effective risk assessment
    • Listening carefully to the suspect and consider input from family members or others who know them
    • Accessing advice from available professionals with relevant skills and experience (i.e. psychiatric, learning disability)
  • Make the decision to contact an AA themselves (the decision is the legal responsibility of the officer and cannot be delegated or deferred to others)
  • Contact an AA whenever the threshold in Code C is met 
  • Treat AAs with courtest and respect, including letting them into the custody suite as soon as practicable on their arrival
  • Ensure that AAs are kept updated with case progression
  • Ensure that AAs, whether present or not, are given advance notice of reviews of detention
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  • In the case of a voluntary interview, determine whether the person requires an AA and for make arrangements
  • Confirm that a suspect has given their agreement to be interviewed voluntarily in the presence of an AA.
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  • Provide information to assist the police officer in identifying the need for an AA
  • Advise police that an AA is required based on a clear understanding of the PACE definition and threshold
  • Do not advise that no AA is required unless:
    • they are confident that they understand the PACE Code definition and threshold; and
    • they have the necessary professional expertise in relation to the suspected condition(s); and
    • they have carried out an appropriate assessment and this has determined that the person has no mental disorder (as defined by the MHA 1983) or other mental vulnerabilty as defined by PACE.
  • Capture information on the percentage of clients screened/assessed by L&D who receive an AA
  • Share information on demand/needs with local AA scheme developers/commissioners
on Monday December 11 by chrisbath
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