Volunteer opportunity description

We are looking for volunteers who are interested in the law and justice system, as well as help, detained vulnerable adults or young offenders while they go through the initial stages at Croydon Police Custody (interview, fingerprints etc).

Volunteer Centre Croydon  aims to increase the number of people who enjoy volunteering while developing their skills. We are also ensuring that all those involved have the best possible experience by helping organisations to provide the best and safest experience for their volunteers.


We are now looking for individuals to help with the Approrpi

What is an Appropriate Adult?

An Appropriate Adult (AA) will protect (or 'safeguard') the rights and welfare of a child or 'mentally vulnerable' adult who is either detained or interviewed under caution by police. The role was created alongside the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) in 1984.

Appropriate Adults are different from a solicitor, interpreter or mental health worker and are not part of the Police. They have specific rights and responsibilities formalised in the PACE Codes of Practice, in particular, Code C, as well as described by Home Office Guidance for Appropriate Adults, 2003. This document, in particular, describes the purpose of an AA to be the following:


  • To support, advise and assist the young person or vulnerable adult while in detention and police interview


  • To ensure that the young person or vulnerable adult understand their rights and that you have a role in protecting their rights


  • To observe whether the police are acting fairly and with respect for the rights of the young person/ vulnerable adult and to tell them if they are not.


  • To assist with communication between the detained person and the police.

Law requires the local authorities to ensure an Appropriate Adult is present whenever a young person under 18 or vulnerable adult is detained/ interviewed. The AA could be a parent, relative, social worker, guardians, youth offending team staff, mental health professionals, trained specialist AAs – either volunteer or paid staff. 


As a way to help Social Services and Croydon Police Custody in their work, Volunteer Centre Croydon has been commissioned to deliver a volunteer-based Appropriate Adult scheme.

Volunteers help cover the statutory obligation of the local authorities. This way, we take a great load of work off the shoulders of Social Services so they can focus on other important aspects of their work. Thanks to the swift response from volunteers, detained people in need of an AA are processed a lot quicker.

Becoming an Appropriate Adult Volunteer

How it works

The AAV Croydon Scheme covers 7 days a week including bank holidays: 

  • Mon-Fri between 8.30- 13.00, 13.00-17.30, 17.30- 23.00
  • weekends/BH 8.00-13.00, 13.00-18.00 and 18.00-23.00.

Here’s how this works:

  • each volunteer signs up in advance for their preferred shifts (these are scheduled in advance with up to 3 months ahead)
  • at the end of the week, the project coordinator sends the rota for the week ahead - rota containing the shift times, the name of the volunteer and the phone number.
  • if the police need an Appropriate adult, they call the volunteer who is on call during that period of time
  • if they cannot get in touch with the volunteer for whatever reason, then the police will call project coordinator to arrange for a new volunteer if possible. If not, the case will be postponed or forwarded to social services.

Volunteers are contacted by the police directly but only during the agreed shift times.

What will be your tasks?

You will:

  • Take turn being ‘on call’ on a rota covering weekends and Bank holidays, making sure you take on a minimum of 2 shifts per month
  • If called on, act as an appropriate adult based only at Croydon police custody suite.
  • Support the young person/ vulnerable adult to make their own decisions by talking them through the consequences.
  • Advise and assist the detained person, particularly while they are being questioned.
  • Observe whether the police are acting properly, fairly and with respect for the rights of the detained person, and to tell them if you think they are not.
  • Ensure legal advice is provided by a solicitor
  • Assist with communication between the detained person and the police.
  • Fill out reports required by the project at the end of each shift.


Who is it suitable for?

We aim to establish a group of volunteers from all walks of life in order to have a diverse group of people acting as AAV. The perfect candidates are interested in the justice system, as well as helping detained vulnerable adults or young offenders while they go through the initial stages at Croydon Police Custody (interview, fingerprints etc). We are particularly looking for people who are confident and have an understanding of different disabilities, who are empathic and professional at the same time.


Essential Criteria

These qualities are necessary for selection for training as an appropriate adult:

  • Genuine interest in the justice system and helping the community
  • Honesty, integrity and sense of responsibility.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to recognise factors which cause stress both in oneself and others, and to identify appropriate coping mechanisms.
  • Ability to be assertive and to advocate
  • Ability to form good working relationships with a variety of people
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Good literacy and basic administrative skills.
  • Patience and non-judgemental attitude.
  • Commitment to attend training courses and supervision and de-briefing meetings.
  • Ability to attend the police station within the specified timescale when on call.


Other requirements:

  • Covering the shifts is really flexible, as you will be the one choosing which ones you wish to sign up for. However we do expect our volunteers to take on at least 2 shifts of 5h each per month, so commitment is an important aspect of the role.
  • You will need to be able to reach Croydon Custody (90 Windmill Road, CR0 2XR) within 60 min after a call is received.
  • Applicants must be aged 21+ and will be subject to an enhanced DBS check, free of charge.
  • Experience working with young people or vulnerable adults is beneficial but is not essential.



  • Free training will be provided (see How to Apply)
  • We reimburse reasonable travel/refreshments expenses against receipts.
  • The role is very flexible and you will choose when you wish to volunteer (as long as you are able to commit to a minimum of 2 shifts per month).

As an AAV you will learn more about the justice system. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a first-hand experience of working within the legal environment.

At the same time, you will be able to give meaning to your already existing skills and life experience. Your support, patience and guidance will help members of the community who find themselves in a difficult situation understand the process and cooperate with the Police.

This will often reduce the time they spend going through procedures whilst in the custody, greatly reducing the workload of both custody and social services staff members. 

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


About the organisation

Volunteer Centre Croydon

Karen Chillman
Head of Volunteering
Organisation’s website:
Volunteer opportunity website:
Learn more about this organisation:
Organisation’s profile
View all volunteer opportunities listed by this organisation