Dean House Farm, Church LaneNewdigateEnglandRH5 5DLUnited Kingdom View Map


+44 1306 631143


The Surrey Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service exists to help young and vulnerable people in police custody. It is a unique service, operating 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. There are some other similar services, but none that offers cover for all vulnerable groups across the county, regardless of time or nature of call. Established in 1994, this pioneering service reaches out to the most vulnerable people at the time of their greatest need, sometimes they have been rejected by their own families, friends or carers. The mainstay of the service is the committed and dedicated volunteers throughout Surrey who willingly and graciously give their time, experience and compassion and who are on call 24 hours a day. They cover the four main police custody centres: Guildford, Reigate, Staines and Woking; and attend around 1,100 calls per year - in fact to date they have helped around 20,000 vulnerable people in police custody. The Service, commissioned through the Youth Justice Service and the Families Directorate Adult Services of Surrey County Council, is formed as a partnership project of the Department for Social Responsibility of the Diocese of Guildford. It is managed and operated by three part-time staff from offices in Newdigate. They provide organisation and support backup for the pool of some 80 volunteers who are split into teams to provide cover for the various custody centres. These unpaid volunteers support young people brought into custody and they also support adults with mental vulnerabilities. This help is provided when, in the case of young people, their parents or guardians are unable to assist for any reason; and in the case of mentally vulnerable adults, support is required in order for the police to progress with their enquiries. The volunteers make contact with the detainees in custody; make sure they understand their rights; get the opportunity to talk privately in advance of any interview or solicitor's meeting; and provide support during the interview process and with any immediate issues arising such as making representations on behalf of the detainee. They may also be called to give support during medical assessments, identity parades, fingerprinting, searches, photographs and then charging and bailing if so required. The volunteers also check the custody record and make sure correct police procedures are maintained. All in all a very important role in support of a vulnerable person who will be stressed and confused in the environment of the police custody centre. Volunteers are carefully selected and trained; and need to live within a reasonable travelling distance of one of the four main police custody centres in Surrey. Each of these centres has a dedicated team of available volunteers all of whom are on call at times to suit. The aim is to be able to get to the custody centre within 30 minutes and it is a credit to them that over 95% of calls in the past five years have achieved this.

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