Major investigation and public protection

Adults at risk

Policing has a crucial role to play in the identification, support and safeguarding of adults who are at risk of harm. Perpetrators will target those with specific vulnerabilities, eg, mental ill health, substance misuse, isolation, to commit or assist in the commission of their crimes, as they know they will be easier to groom, manipulate and threaten and as victims’ they are less likely to report their experience for many reasons.

The Care Act 2014 provides a statutory framework for working in partnership in cases where adults at risk have care and support needs. The following advice products will assist officers to respond effectively at various levels of report, investigation and management of cases.

Briefing note for adults at risk: initial response and safeguarding

Briefing note for adults at risk: advice for investigators

Adults at risk – annexes

Deciding whether to make a safeguarding concern referral flowchart 

Making Safeguarding Personal: What might ‘good’ look like for the Police ( – Advice for strategic leadership.

See also

CPS policy guidance on the prosecution of crimes against older people

Older People: Prosecuting Crimes against – Legal guidance.

Consultation on Crimes Against Older People Policy Guidance – Summary of Responses

The Office of Public Guardian (OPG) – Protects people in England and Wales who may not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves, such as about their health and finance and will usefully support investigations in this area.

ACPO (2012) Guidance on Safeguarding and Investigating the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults – To be decommissioned on development of advice for supervisors/managers.



Page last accessed 23 September 2021