Professional boundaries

All stakeholders should be clear on the boundaries of the role. Appropriate adults are trained lay people who can help to identify when other professionals are required. They cannot, and must not be expected to, replace professionals such as legal, clinical or communication specialists where they are required to achieve the outcomes detailed above.

Appropriate adults do not


Relevant professionals

  • Provide suspects with legal advice (though they can provide information about the law)
  •  Solicitors and other legal representatives
  •  Provide medical advice or treatment
  • Forensic physicians (akak FME)
  • Custody nurses
  • Carry out assessments of a person’s mental health or other needs
  • Liaison and diversion
  • Approved Mental Health Practitioner
  • Provide translation / interpretation services
  • Interpreter
  • Language Line
  • Facilitate communication for people with a high level of need
  • Intermediaries / speech and language therapists
  • Hold responsibility for the welfare and treatment of a person in police custody
  • Police custody sergeant
  • Monitor or inspect custody suites
  • Independent Custody Visitors
  • HM Inspectorates
  • Provide support to a person outside of police detention or voluntary interview
  • Legal representatives
  • Health and social care professionals

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