There to Help

The report of the Home Secretary's Commission 2015:

Ensuring provision of appropriate adults for mentally vulnerable adults detained or interviewed by police

By the National Appropriate Adult Network and Institute for Criminal Policy Research



There to Help (Full report - 88 pages)

Executive summary (Findings and recommendations only - 2 pages)

By section

Main report (19 pages)

A - Literature review

B - Legislation review

C - Case law review

D - Results: police force data, AA scheme survey and the Liaison & Diversion Programme

E - Results: custody sergeant survey

F - Results: interviews of strategic stakeholders

G - Results: discussions with people with mental vulnerabilities and experience of the justice system

H - Analysis of costs 

I - Analysis of AA role as described by PACE Codes of Practice 







2015 Today

2015 5Live

2015 Newsbeat

2015 Wiltshire



Home Secretary Theresa May MP

“Appropriate adults provide vital support and help to de-mystify what can be a confusing, sometimes frightening, experience in police custody.

“Evidence suggests there is a lack of appropriate adults to safeguard the welfare and rights of mentally vulnerable adults in police custody. That is why I commissioned this review to determine where the problems lie.

“The status quo is not acceptable and I am concerned that vulnerable adults are not always receiving the support of an appropriate adult. We are currently examining the recommendations and implementation options to ensure that vulnerable people are provided with the support they are entitled to.

“I am grateful to NAAN for their continued dedication to ensure fairness and humane treatment of both vulnerable adults and children when they are in trouble and in police custody.”

Lord Bradley PC

“The police work in a difficult environment with incredible time pressures. Trained appropriate adults must be quickly available wherever they are needed. Along with liaison and diversion, and street triage, they are critical part of a coherent approach to vulnerabilities which both saves money and delivers better outcomes”.

Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset and chair of the Independent Custody Visitors Association

"We are clearly not getting it right for the more vulnerable members of our communities who need that extra protection and support. When a vulnerable person comes into contact with the police, their needs deserve to be properly identified, with a needs assessment made, and for them to then be dealt with quickly and fairly. For this to happen, every area needs an organised, trained appropriate adult scheme which is totally independent of the police.”

Avtar Bhatoa, Chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee

"To ensure fair justice for all, mentally vulnerable people need the help of an appropriate adult during what can be a daunting and confusing time. With the right support, mentally vulnerable people are less likely to suffer an injustice or to waive their right to free legal advice through fear and misunderstanding, which can compound their disadvantage in the justice system. It is vital that the recommendations in this important report are implemented."

Gísli Guðjónsson CBE FBPsS, Professor of Forensic Psychology (whose expert testimony saw the convictions of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four overturned)

“Mentally vulnerable people are at increased risk of providing information which is inaccurate, unreliable or misleading. “The involvement of an appropriate adult to facilitate communication, ensure they understand their rights and are treated fairly, is absolutely critical to a fair process”.

James Bullion, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

“Helping to support and safeguard our most vulnerable citizens, whether they are victims or suspects, is central to the role of adult social care services. Many local authorities have a long history of providing social workers or funding dedicated AA schemes. ADASS supports the report’s recommendations and is keen to work with central Government and local partners to ensure sustainable services are available for all.”


Chris Bath, Chief Executive, NAAN - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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