Research conducted for the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (The Royal Commission on Criminal Justice (1993) Research Study no: 12 Gudjonsson G et al. Persons at Risk During Interviews in Police Custody: The Identification of Vulnerabilities. London. HMSO) concluded that the police interviewed many suspects of poor intellectual ability, with 6% having a reading age of below 9 years. The researchers estimated that 7% of suspects were probably suffering from mentall illness and 3% from mental handicap.
One of the Commission's recommendations was that the use of appropriate adults should be investigated further.
Individuals with mental health problems or learning disabilities may be especially vulnerable to the distress and pressures caused by the experience of arrest and police detention. Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and the associated Codes of Practice, mentally vulnerable suspects are entitled to special protection, in addition to the rights of any arrested person. This protection includes the attendance of an 'Appropriate Adult' who could be a relative, friend, guardian, mental health professional or responsible adult who must be independent of the police.
An extreme example of what can go wrong is that of Anthony Everett who because of his mental health problem, confessed to 391 burglaries and thefts during interview by the Essex police. He was charged and went to prison, only then was it realised that he could not be guilty for many of the offences as he had actually been in prison when most of them had been committed.
The objective of the service is to assist juveniles, people with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems who come into contact with the police because they are suspected of committing offences. Individuals with mental health problems or learning disabilities may be especially vulnerable to the distress and pressures caused by the experience of arrest and police detention.
Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and its associated Codes of Practice, vulnerable suspects are entitled to special protection in addition to the rights of any arrested person. This protection includes the attendance of an 'appropriate adult' who could be a relative, friend, guardian, mental health professional, or any responsible adult who must be independent of the police.
Derbyshire Appropriate Adult Service (DAAS) aims:
Derbyshire Appropriate Adult Service (DAAS) aims to provide trained volunteers to act as 'appropriate adults' in compliance with the categories highlighted by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, Codes of Practices, Code C para 1.7 as follows:
(ii) someone experienced in dealing with mentally disordered or mentally vulnerable people but who is not a police officer or employed by the police
(iii) failing either of the above, some other responsible adult aged 18 or over who is not a police officer or employed by the police.'
The appropriate adult (AA) will be present at the PACE interview and witness all other procedures in accordance with the Codes of Practice.
DAAS is a service which recruits, trains and deploys volunteer appropriate adults as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) for people who are detained by the police who are perceived to be vulnerable, i.e. have a mental health problem or a learning disability. The service operates in Derby City and the whole of Derbyshire.
DAAS will act, if requested by the police, on behalf of any juvenile or vulnerable adult in police custody who has been arrested for an offence, who by the nature of the offence, their behaviour or known history, are deemed to be "mentally disordered or mentally vulnerable" as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), Codes of Practice. (Code C. para 1.4).
DAAS will also act on behalf of a vulnerable adult or juvenile who has agreed to give a voluntary interview under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).
DAAS is managed by the Derbyshire Advocacy Service (DAS) Board of Trustees. The Team Managers are managed and employed by the Derbyshire Advocacy Service (DAS) which is the umbrella organisation for DAAS. The Team Managers are responsible for the development of the project, including liaison with the police, recruitment, training, supervision and support of the volunteers who undertake the 'appropriate adult' (AA) role.
Derbyshire Appropriate Adult Service (DAAS) is a voluntary service in Derbyshire, providing support for juveniles and adults who are vulnerable as a result of a learning disability or mental health problems, when they are detained for interview by the police. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (known as PACE) Codes of Practice make it clear that an `Appropriate Adult' must be present in such circumstances to explain to the suspect what is going on, help with any communication problems, and ensure that the interviewing is carried out fairly.
We have two teams making up a total of 67 volunteers who serve on an on-call basis, providing cover from 8am to midnight each day, 365 days per year.
The role of an Appropriate Adult is defined by The Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 for vulnerable adults (17 years or over) who are detained by the police. This includes:
It is essential that you:
It is useful if you:
There is an initial accredited modular training programme. This includes training in mental health issues, learning disabilities and PACE. On-going training is also provided. The selection process involves an interview, the receipt of satisfactory references and a police check.
We are seeking confident, quietly assertive, calm and enthusiastic people to join our team, which covers all police stations in Derbyshire, (volunteers must be able to reach these areas easily). Strong communication skills and ability to follow systems and procedures is essential.
From time to time we are in need of new volunteers. So, if you are interested in becoming an Appropriate Adult, please complete the attached form and return it to us at the address shown on the contacts page. We are particularly interested in hearing from people who could volunteer a minimum of two sessions a month. Persons should be over 18, and this would also suit retired members of the community.
If you would like to have a chat to someone regarding this, please contact one of our Area Team Leaders (see contacts page). Our next training will take place during March 2012.
Appropriate Adult Information and Application Pack - MS Word
Appropriate Adult Information and Application Pack - PDF
For further information contact us at the address below for an informal chat with one of our Joint Service Managers
RTC Business Park
Kelvin House Third Floor
Tel: (01332) 206505
Mobile: 07790035423 or 07790542458