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Behind the scenes in police custody, hundreds of people around the country support some of the most vulnerable people and ensure that their wellbeing and rights are protected.

These Appropriate Adults especially in the West Midlands are volunteers, and more of them are needed.

Part of a scheme led by local police and crime commissioners – they receive full training and provide a critical service to not just those taken into custody but also to the police.

Appropriate Adults help to safeguard the welfare, rights and effective participation of vulnerable adults detained or interviewed as suspects in criminal investigations. They are required to accompany them during their interviews and other processes in police custody. An Appropriate Adult does not replace the role of a solicitor or other legal representative.

They are available on call 24/7 if a suitable family member or friend is not available.

In the year up until March 2020, West Midlands Appropriate Adults carried out 828 visits to vulnerable adults.

Now, the search is on for more volunteer Appropriate Adults.

Launching the drive for more volunteers, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem said:

“Appropriate Adults provide a vital service for some of the most vulnerable people in our society in their time of need. They help to prevent miscarriages of justice and unjust convictions by ensuring the fair treatment of those who require them.

“If you’re someone who is understanding, caring and is a strong communicator – I would urge you to consider applying to this role.

“We are keen to see applicants from people of all backgrounds and walks of life. There is no prior experience or qualification to become one of our Appropriate Adults. However, it maybe of interest with those studying or with experience working in social work, mental health or criminal justice.”

Applications for the scheme close on Friday 19th February with training due to take place in April.

Those interested in learning more about the role can find out more here.

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