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Aggressive behaviour, prostitution and theft are just some of the problems at a Cambridge hostel to have recently attracted police attention.
Run by Riverside ECHG, the 72-bed hostel at 222 Victoria Road has seen approximately 30 people evicted in the past year for bad behaviour.
The hostel has been branded “out of control” by local councillor Paul Sales and has been the subject of many complaints by the local community. Repeated disturbances led to a meeting between the police, local residents and the management of the hostel to discuss how the anti-social behaviour can be tackled, and how the hostel should continue to operate.
This ECHG hostel is one of the country’s largest and its residents are referred by outreach teams, probation services and council housing services. Service users arrive with a range of support needs. Some have been referred to the hostel directly from prison and much of the reported anti-social behaviour has been alcohol-related.
The hostel houses over 70 people. Staff levels have been between 10 and 12, although the hostel has also experienced high staff turnover, as well as changes in management. Talks have recently taken place to decide whether to reduce the number of rooms available, so that staff can better meet the needs of the residents.
Visits by the police to tackle the increased levels of anti-social behaviour have now become a daily occurrence. The increased police presence perhaps indicates that extra support is needed. It may also lead to some of residents feeling less able to integrate with the community and may cause some to re-offend.