I chose to take part in the Northumbria Local Appropriate Adult Scheme (NLAAS) as it seemed like such a great opportunity to provide support to vulnerable people during their time spent in the legal system. One of the most rewarding aspects of the role is the gratitude you receive from the officers and suspects, and you’re always supported along the way. You’re working in a team of like-minded individuals who all share the same values, and everyone’s commitment to justice is truly inspiring. My supervisors are really approachable whenever I have queries or concerns regarding any custody matters that arise.
Joining NLAAS has allowed me to improve my communication skills in relation to navigating sensitive conversations with individuals in stressful situations. It’s also helped me understand legal procedures such as swabbing, fingerprinting, searches, and the rights of suspects. I’ve developed a stronger sense of patience, which is invaluable in the role of the appropriate adult as you’re dealing with a lot of vulnerable people. I’ve gained so much knowledge from the officers in terms of future career pathways too.
To anybody considering joining the Local Appropriate Adult Scheme, I’d suggest you focus on developing strong interpersonal skills, as well as empathy and patience, as you’ll be working with people who might be experiencing high levels of distress. Make sure you familiarise yourself with legal procedures and guidelines so that you can effectively support their rights. I would also advise that even though the first shift might be stressful, it does get easier! It’s important to remember that our presence is significant in ensuring effective custody spaces. Since completing my placement hours, I’ve continued to volunteer because I find the scheme so fulfilling.”
Published 26 October 2023