Ex­panded sup­port ser­vice for vul­ner­a­ble adults is huge suc­cess

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

RE­SPONSE times to help vul­ner­a­ble adults in need of com­mu­ni­ca­tion sup­port dur­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been cut.

Vic­tims, wit­nesses, sus­pects and ac­cused peo­ple who suf­fer from ‘men­tal dis­or­ders’ are be­ing sup­ported by the Ap­pro­pri­ate Adult Ser­vice through the po­lice in­ter­view process.

Al­though the ser­vice has al­ways been avail­able to peo­ple in Ar­gyll and Bute, it was pre­vi­ously pro­vided by Dum­bar­ton. How­ever, it has now been set up in the re­gion and is man­aged from Oban, cut­ting the re­sponse time from six hours to one across the area.

The na­tional ser­vice pro­vides peo­ple with con­di­tions such as learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, men­tal health ill­ness and de­men­tia the sup­port of an in­de­pen­dent per­son to en­sure they are not disad­van­taged by their con­di­tion, en­sur­ing the process is fair and un­der­stood. The lo­cally pro­vided ser­vice also al­lows in­ter­views to be con­cluded in a more timely man­ner for the in­di­vid­ual and the po­lice.

The move means that ap­pro­pri- ate adults, who would have orig­i­nally trav­elled from Glas­gow, are now trained and based in Ar­gyll.

Carr Gomm, a char­ity which helps in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties, has part­nered with Po­lice Scot­land, the lo­cal so­cial work depart­ment and the health ser­vice to cre­ate the ini­tia­tive. The Ap­pro­pri­ate Adult Ser­vice now has six staff based in Mid Ar­gyll, six in Oban and three are in Camp­bel­town.

Chris­tine Ni­col is the ser­vice man­ager based in Oban and is over­see­ing the ini­tia­tive for Ar­gyll and Bute. She said: ‘Pre­vi­ously, the near­est Ap­pro­pri­ate Adult for Ar­gyll and Bute was based in Dum­bar­ton and it was prov­ing dif­fi­cult to get an ap­pro­pri­ate adult to a po­lice in­ter­view within a rea­son­able time scale.

‘The ser­vice has been a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for all in­volved and I think that it has been such a suc­cess be­cause of the sup­port from our part­ners. We have good com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween one an­other and have reg­u­lar meet­ings to mon­i­tor the devel­op­ment of the ser­vice.

‘In the past re­sponse has taken up to six hours. Since we started, in June 2015, an ap­pro­pri­ate adult can re­spond within an hour.

‘And hav­ing peo­ple based around Ar­gyll means that if we don’t have some­one avail­able in the spe­cific lo­cal­ity re­quired, po­lice and the ser­vice users will still not wait as long as they could have done in the past. This ser­vice is ac­ces­si­ble and re­spon­sive 24 hours per day.

‘Be­ing based lo­cally has made a real dif­fer­ence to the ser­vice and we have seen an ex­pected in­crease in the num­ber of re­fer­rals and have been able to sup­port more peo­ple. Hav­ing peo­ple who know the area and have the rel­e­vant skills and ex­pe­ri­ence has been mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence.’

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