Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice, an 'appropriate adult' should accompany a juvenile suspect at the police station in England and Wales, and similar roles exist elsewhere. In the past, there have been various recommendations to use volunteers as appropriate adults or in comparable roles. One of the reasons for this is that it was considered that their use would enhance the availability of appropriate adults and reduce the delays in securing their attendance. Dealing with young suspects expeditiously and detaining them for the shortest time possible is an issue of universal concern, not least because it is the subject of international law. This article explores the extent of delays in obtaining appropriate adults and the reasons behind them. It presents the results of a case study of a volunteer appropriate adult service which found that just over half of volunteers were contacted within two hours of the young suspect's arrest and that they then tended to arrive within the two hours required in England and Wales. The article concludes with a number of recommendations for minimising delays.
- appropriate adults
- young suspects