Appropriate adult (AA)

A parent, guardian, social worker or any responsible person over 18 years old who isn’t a police officer or employed by the police. Appropriate adults must be called by the police whenever they detain or interview a child. An appropriate adult must be present during a range of police processes, including intimate searches and identification procedures.

Their role is to safeguard the rights, entitlements and welfare of children. They support, advise and help the child when they are given or asked to provide information or participate in any procedure. They also observe whether the police are acting properly and fairly and respect the rights and entitlements of a child. If they think the police aren’t acting fairly and properly, they will inform an officer of the rank of inspector or above.

They also help the child to communicate with the police, while respecting their right to not say anything unless they want to – as set out in the terms of the caution. They also help the child to understand their rights and make sure they are protected and respected.

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