Better communication during police interviews – Appropriate adults have a key role

Appropriate Adults play a key role in making sure people who have difficulty with communication or understanding conversations are not disadvantaged during police interviews. An Appropriate adult is a person who is independent of the police and can be present at all categories of interview, such as victim, witness, suspect or accused.

Their role is to check that the interviewee is following and understanding what is being discussed. They may also advise police officers on the anxiety levels that an interviewee is experiencing and how these may be impacting on the quality of their answers and level of understanding.

Ian Wilson Chairperson for the Scottish Appropriate Adult Network (SAAN) said, “SAAN has over the years been working hard developing a consistent approach to the availability and quality of Appropriate Adult service across Scotland. We have also continued to raise the profile of the service provided by appropriate adults. The new web site is an important development in ensuring information on the service is widely available.”

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill said:

“The Scottish Government recognises the important role that Appropriate Adults play in supporting vulnerable people and facilitating effective communication during police procedures, and we are pleased to be able to fund the provision of a new dedicated Appropriate Adult website.”