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

Appropriate Adults are distinctly different from other supporters a person might have, such as a solicitor, interpreter or mental health worker. They have specific rights and responsibilities that are largely detailed in the PACE Codes of Practice, in particular, Code C.

The PACE Codes are long, complicated and regularly change, which can make it challenging for a person who is not trained to be effective. However, the key responsibilities of an AA are:

  • To support, advise and assist the child or young person while in detention, including during an interview
  • To ensure that the child or young person understand their rights and that you have a role in protecting their rights
  • To observe whether the police are acting properly, fairly and with respect for the rights of the child or young person and to tell them if they are not.
  • To assist with communication between the child or young person and the police.

Our project started as a way to help Social Services and Croydon Police Custody in their work. By having volunteers to act as Appropriate Adults we take a great load of work off the shoulders of Social Services so they can focus on other important aspects of their work, while the processing time at the police custody gets shortened due to the swift response from the volunteers.


AA volunteer

Danielle Exall - AA volunteer

"The new skills I have learnt give me a sense of worth and pride, which is great for my self-esteem and confidence. I work with like-minded people, which enables me to make new friendships and I receive a lot of support from everyone at CVA."

Appropriate Adult Volunteer


Many of our volunteers are interested in the law and 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). As an Appropriate Adult volunteer, you will be there to ensure that the detained person understands what is happening to them and why.

As an AAV you will receive training and support which will enable you to carry out your role. This includes the following:

  • You will take turn being ‘on call’ on a rota covering weekends and Bank holidays.
  • You will, if called on, act as an independent observer based at Croydon police custody suite.
  • You will encourage the young person/ vulnerable adult to make their own decisions and to be responsible for them by walking them through the consequences.
  • Fill out reports required by the project at the end of each shift.


 Essential Criteria These qualities are necessary for selection for training as an appropriate adult

  • Honesty and integrity.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Patience.
  • The ability to be non-judgemental.
  • Ability to be assertive and to advocate.
  • Good verbal and communication skills.
  • Ability to recognise factors which cause stress both in oneself and others, and to identify appropriate coping mechanisms.
  • Good literacy and basic administrative skills.
  • Commitment to attend training courses, supervision and de-briefing meetings.
  • Ability to attend the custody within the specified timescale when on call.

For more information contact or give us a call at 07540 720 102.