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Appropriate Adults

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what progress has been made in her Department’s review of the role of appropriate adults; and when the new guidance on the matter is expected to be published; (251193)

(2) what assessment she has made of the merits of making it a statutory requirement that an appropriate adult be present at the police station in cases where the police have concerns about a suspect's mental state.

[holding answers 26 January 2009 and 2 February 2009]: Code of Practice C for the Detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 requires that if an officer has any suspicion, or is told in good faith, that a person of any age may be mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable, or mentally incapable of understanding the significance of questions or replies that person shall be treated as mentally disordered or otherwise mentally vulnerable. In those circumstances, an appropriate adult must be called. The Review of PACE, published in August 2008 as a public consultation document, contained proposals on the role, training and use of appropriate adults.

We intend to publish the summary of responses to the consultation paper in March 2009.