If you are in a position where you have been arrested, cautioned or are being questioned by the police, there is a set of rules of conduct about how they must treat you.
This is know as the Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984 or 'PACE'.
If you are under 18 or mentally vulnerable, you have the right to an appropriate adult being with you. This is someone that can support you to talk with the police and your legal adviser and make sure you are being treated fairly. People with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of crime, but if you are arrested for committing a crime it is still important that you have the right support and care.
SECE Mind has trained appropriate adults available to offer PACE support, who have a good understanding of the criminal justice system and may be in a better position to help you than a family member.
They will make sure you have access to the following rights:
Reasonable physical comfort
Enough food and drink
Use of a toilet and wash facilities
The appropriate adult can support you while you are in the police station. If you wish, they can be with you when you are being asked questions, if you are asked to write of sign any sort of statement, or if you have to give your fingerprints or DNA sample.
How else can an appropriate adult help you?
Be supportive when the police are talking to you
Help you talk to the police
Make sure the police have your correct details
Make sure the police behave correctly and respect your rights
Help you get a legal adviser
You can talk privately with your appropriate adult, but they are not able to give legal advice. They also don’t have legal privilege which means that what you say to them is not confidential and they can be asked to give evidence in court.
Who can be an appropriate adult?
Relative or carer
A social worker
Community mental health worker
Someone over 18 not employed by the police
A trained appropriate adult
South East and Central Essex Mind works closely with Southend Police and a small team is available on call to offer PACE support to members of the community when needed. This is a free service that we work hard to provide as part of our commitments as a local mental health charity.
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