Appropriate adult service


What is an Appropriate Adult?

Appropriate Adult has been successfully delivered by YSS since 1999. When any young person aged between 10 and 17 years of age is arrested and is to be interviewed under caution by the police, there are strict controls. By law, the young person must be accompanied by what is called an ‘Appropriate Adult’; a responsible person over the age of 18. Under usual circumstances that person would be a parent or carer, but when young people are arrested the circumstances are often far from normal.

YSS provides an Appropriate Adult where a parent or carer is unable or unwilling to attend. YSS set up the volunteer-led service, which is commissioned by West Mercia Youth Offending Service, in 1999, and over the years has supported thousands of young people.

Where is the Appropriate Adult service delivered?

YSS delivers the Appropriate Adult service in Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Telford & Wrekin. 

What does an Appropriate Adult do?

The primary focus for an Appropriate Adult is the welfare of the young person for the time he or she is in custody. They are not interested in why they have been arrested or in their alleged offence: they are there to make sure the young person understands what is happening, can communicate what it is they want to say and to ensure that they are being treated as the law says they should be.

An Appropriate Adult will go to the relevant police station, meet the young person and be with him or her through the various procedures and the police interview.

An Appropriate Adult does not offer any legal advice or discuss the alleged offence with the young person – there is always a solicitor on hand to deal with the legal side of things – but is there to offer non-judgemental support and help with communication.

Once the police interview has taken place and a decision has been made by the Custody Sergeant in terms of what happens next, the immediate role of the Appropriate Adult is over. The Appropriate Adult will then complete and return a  monitoring form to YSS, which logs what happened at the police station.

If a young person needs an Appropriate Adult, the police will ring YSS to request assistance. At YSS the phone lines are open between 0600 and 2200 seven days a week, and we have a bank of fully-trained volunteers on a rota system across West Mercia ready to be called upon to act.

Our volunteer will then go to the relevant police station to support the young person in custody. There are currently five operational custody suites in our region – Worcester, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Telford and Kidderminster.

How often does YSS help?

Over the years, YSS has supported thousands of young people who have been arrested for a range of alleged offences, from anti-social behaviour through to more serious crimes such as attempted murder. In 2016 the YSS Appropriate Adult service was called upon 341 times across West Mercia.

To read a case study please click here. 

Want to get involved?

If you'd like to get involved with the Appropriate Adult service at YSS, you can do so by becoming an Appropriate Adult volunteer. We usually recruit volunteers for the Appropriate Adult Project twice a year.

We recruit volunteers from all walks of life and, while we do not expect you to have any specific education or formal qualifications, you must be 18 years old or over and we do look for particular qualities.

How to apply

Apply to become a YSS Appropriate Adult by downloading the forms below. Once completed, please email to Volunteer Coordinator Laura Evans: [email protected]

Appropriate Adult role description

YSS Volunteer Application Form

YSS Safeguarding Declaration Form 

YSS Equal Opportunities Form

Privacy Notice