Fife appropriate adult service

The Appropriate Adult Service is supported by Police Scotland, NHS Fife and Fife Council's Social Work Service and aims to help improve communication and support for adults with a learning disability, autism, mental ill health, brain injury or any cognitive impairment who come into contact with the Police.

The role of an Appropriate Adult

The role of an Appropriate Adult is to facilitate communication and to provide support for adults aged 16yrs plus with a learning disability, mental ill health, brain injury or any cognitive impairment, who come into contact with Police. The service is available to witness’, victims, suspects or accused people at police interview, specific forensic procedures or examination, and precognition.

Service Details

The Fife Appropriate Adult service operates on a 24hours 7days 52 week service. The service is provided by 9 trained individuals who all have experience in assisting people with communication difficulties.

Contact Details

A monthly rota is held at Force Contact centre along with contact details for the appropriate adults.

If an officer suspects that the person they are about to interview may need an appropriate adult they should contact Force Call Centre and request that an appropriate adult be contacted. The F.C.C staff member will require the personal details of the interviewee, their status i.e witness ,victim ,suspect or accused and the time and location where the appropriate adult is required to attend.

The F.C.C staff member will then contact the Appropriate Adult.

Pre Interview

When the Appropriate adult arrives at the agreed police station or location where the interview is to conducted the interviewing officer must spend time with them in private discussing the reason why the interviewee is being interviewed. They must also discuss the caution/charge to ensure that the appropriate adult can understand it and explain it to the interviewee if necessary.

They should also agree the method by which the appropriate adult will advise the interviewing officer that they need to speak to them about a concern they have regarding the interviewee’s understanding or some other aspect of the interview process.

It is also extremely useful for the Appropriate Adult to spend five or ten minutes with the interviewee prior to the interview to explain their role and identify any specific issues related to the individual that may be important to share with the interviewing officer.

Interview Stage

During the interview the appropriate adult will assist either the interviewing officer or the interviewee where communication difficulties arise. It is essential that the Appropriate Adult is satisfied that the interviewee understands the caution/charge before the interview continues. This will reduce the likelihood of the case being dismissed at court on the grounds that the individual did not understand what they were being interviewed about.

At the end of the interview the interviewing officer must take a statement from the appropriate adult. This should include a comment from the Appropriate Adult regarding any concerns they may or may not have about the process of the interview that has just taken place. 

Post Interview

Where necessary the appropriate adult will remain at the station until all other procedures are a completed i.e fingerprints, D.N.A. photographs etc. their role, regardless of the procedure being carried out, is to facilitate communication.

If the interviewee requires to be transported home at the end of the process it is the responsibility of the police to arrange this.   

Social Work Enquiries
Tel: 03451 55 15 03 Contact Social Work Enquiries online


Emergency Out of Hours Social Work Services
Tel: 03451 550099
By Post: New City House 1 Edgar Street Dunfermline Fife KY12 7EP
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