Surrey Comet - YMCA 'adds to borough crime'

15 years ago...

Surrey Comet August 6th 2008

YMCA 'adds to borough crime'

Grab yourself a copy of this weeks Surrey Comet, makes for good reading, especially the bit from Edward Davey

Even mentions this very website


n tht pst, 'll sk gn .. Tnk Grl, wht's yr nvlvmnt wth th YMC?

The above text has been deliberately disemvowelled as it is in breach of the terms.

are you so closed minded that you cannot understand that another Surbiton resident may have a differnt opinion to the majority on this site?

I have no affiliation to the YMCA -I am just trying to look at the bigger picture - it is a hostel - end of

the people that are responsible for the crime are the people commiting it !!!!!!!

it is such a shame that in todays society responsibility is always shifted, and it is begining to be a blame culture

Tank Girl, you simply don’t understand the topic and/or the discussion within it!

Lets make it simpler for you ..


Did you grasp that or would you prefer it broken down with minority syllables?

Thank you for your sarcasm.....

however I still believe the YMCA does a lot of good work and it is more to do with the council seeing an opportunity to 'dump' difficult to house residents (either with mental health / substance misuse / etc difficulties) there rather than looking at the bigger picture, and looking at alternative solutions

(which no doubt would cost more money to implement - therefore something that they wont do )

and the results of this - being a problem for the wider community - which I do acknowledge!

I still stand by my belief that the people being responsible for the criminal activity should be the perpetrators of the criminal activity

and not just where they have been housed. as if they were placed in council properties in say beaufort road, kingston (another B&B haven and 'dumping ground' for social housing) ther crime rate of that area would go up.

I do not dispute that there has been an increase in crime - but I refuse to accept that other than the person commiting the crime anyone else is responsible for it

the reason the YMCA is becoming a hot topic is a result of the 'crimail activity' of the residents - not a direct fault of the YMCA - as after all it is a hostel - not a bail hostel ect, - but from what I read here it is being used as a place in which kingston council / mental health services are using as an 'easy option'

I do not agree with breaking the law or excuse peoples behaviour, but the people who are in 'power' need to realise that by placing 'difficult to house' residents in one place - it is going to either continue at the same level or get worse....

I dont understand why people are getting at me for just 'trying' to see the bigger picture rather than just blaming a 'youth hostel' that is being misused and 'dumped' on - they do do good work and before this became such a problem - with the council using it as such - there wernt such debates about its placement or its general use.....

There is no doubt that the YMCA is not directly responsible for crimes committed by it's residents, but the volume of crime that is being committed goes to show that the council is placing people there that need to be in more secure, controlled accomodation.

Clearly, a lot of the YMCA residents have recently been in prison. Under the current system, they come out of prison, go into an unsecure hostel where they are encouraged by other residents to commit crime, and end up back in prison for a short stint. Then the cycle starts again.

This is no good for anyone, especially the residents of the areas that have to put up with these hostels. The YMCA should return to dealing with the vulnerable people in the community that it can cater for properly, not take on higher risk cases.

I think a good trouble spot to close, higher on the agenda than the YMCA would be here:

I'm sure some of the more open minded people on this thread would be regulars at such a travesty of a venue.

Be careful what you wish for! It might seem a good idea to close Oceana, but I think that the club, along with the 'King's Tun' pub provides a massive service to Surbiton in keeping a lot of the pubs in the town centre relatively free of low life. Most people aged under 25 and with an IQ under 100 are drawn to those establishments, leaving only a few in Surbiton to drink at St Marks Tavern and Wetherspoons.

Without Oceana and the King's Tun, Surbiton pubs like the Victoria and Grove might go quickly downhill.

The downside of this is that it makes it impossible to get to the cinema in Kingston without walking past hundreds of mouth-breathers queueing and fighting their way into the club. It is a small price to pay in my opinion.

Tank Girl, what is your involvement with the YMCA?

I hear Gary Glitter (Gadd) is heading for the YMCA in Surbiton

Even he would represent an improvement over the average resident there.

what a bizzare attitute?
or were you 'trying' and failing to be ironic?

I think it is you who has the bizarre attitude. I don't hear anyone on this site feeling sympathy for people like Gary Glitter (and neither should they), but there is a certain element who feel duty-bound to stand up for the criminal actions of those at the YMCA and to defend the inability of the centre itself to cater for these people. No one is saying these people should not be helped, but the YMCA (in it's current form) is not the place for this to be done.

There is collective uproar when child abusers are let loose in the community without proper control, so I fail to see why the residents of Surbiton are not entitled to gripe a little bit when more minor criminals are housed in their midst and allowed to roam free, abusing and stealing from the residents.

WHERE in my posts do I allure to being sympathetic to criminals?

DO I NOT write that I do not condone breaking the law, do I not write I do NOT agree with bad, inappropriate or intimidating behaviour?

I am NOT condoning or excusing anyones behaviour on here if you actually READ my posts

What I am trying to do is have an open and frank discussion about the real problems, trying to look at the root cause of the problem without catastrophising or exaggerating or being offensive to the residents who do not cause a problem by making generalsiations - or by being rude to those who write on this forum - or [filtered word] them off for thier opinion

this world is full of different people - which is what makes it what it is - and I am fully aware that I wont agree always with others opinions and vise versa......

HAVE I not writen that the person responsible for the crime is the person perpretrating it? no one else!

We are all responsible for our OWN actions!

Exactly right. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, including the people who committed these crimes.

However, the council is at fault for placing them in the YMCA in the first place, and the YMCA is at fault for willingly accepting residents that it cannot deal with. A bail hostel needs specially trained staff and a secure environment - the YMCA has neither.

There is a problem with the good residents of the YMCA being 'tarred with the same brush' as the bad ones, but this is a fairly natural reaction when a very high proportion of a town's crime emanates from one place.

Regulation would surely help these innocent residents as well - they must be preyed on more by the others than the general population. It must be hell to have to actually live in the same building as some of these people, it is bad enough having to live in the same town.

Indeed - and what I've been trying to say!

Has anyone tried to get a response out of the 3 local Councillors for the Ward (St Mark's) that the YMCA is in? Maybe they would like to post a response and we should all raise it with them by emailing them with our concerns. Their details are freely available on the Kingston Council website.

You could also register your complaint by loging onto a site called fixmystreet. It automatically gets sent to the Council by the site and has to get logged. This site is good for reporting anything you want the Council to fix.

Will our MP actually do anything this time? I doubt it very much judging by what he's said above. The YMCA has been a massive problem for many years and the local Lib Dem councillors just give lip service and things carry on.

One complaining resident from Lovelace Gardens said: “They all congregate outside in the main high street smoking their cigarettes and drinking cider. They are very intimidating. It is a case of ‘not in my back yard’ but I think crime in the area has gone up there.

This was me!!!

Please can someone just blow the place up !!!

If people hadn't whinged for so long about a ban on smoking in public buildings then they'd probably be indoors smoking and drinking cider. As for "blow the place up" that's hardly a intelligent arguement is it? What are the details of these crimes? Do you have them? How many are invoving members of the community outside of the YMCA? Think before you open your mouth please.

YMCA complaints

6:10am Tuesday 5th August 2008

A string of complaints about crime and disorder at the YMCA in Surbiton has prompted MP Edward Davey to organise an emergency meeting to tackle it.

A petition calling for the Victoria Road hostel to close or “be regulated” has been circulating around Surbiton and complaints from residents have been flooding on to an online discussion forum.

Some residents are so concerned they have taken to writing to Mr Davey, who has vowed to meet with YMCA managers and local councillors in the next few weeks.

Contributors to the online discussion thread asked for the number of homeless people referred to the YMCA by Kingston council to be reduced, although the MP said it was unlikely that the numbers could be limited.

One complaining resident from Lovelace Gardens said: “They all congregate outside in the main high street smoking their cigarettes and drinking cider. They are very intimidating. It is a case of ‘not in my back yard’ but I think crime in the area has gone up there.”

The 122-bedroom hostel rents out 100 of its bedrooms to vulnerable homeless people, including under 18s, over 60s, disabled people, ex-service people and former prisoners. The remaining 22 are dedicated to short-term lets.

Police figures show they were called to the building 47 times in the six months from January to June 2008, which resulted in 15 crimes being reported.

The same period last year saw 52 calls and nine crimes reported.

Mr Davey defended the YMCA, saying problems reported in the past have often had nothing to do with it.

But he added: “If this time it is YMCA residents behind this unacceptable behaviour, then I would expect the management to act, as they have done before. We must not allow a few temporary residents to disrupt our town or damage the excellent but often unnoticed work that Surbiton’s YMCA has done over the years.”

Stuart Leamy, chief executive of the YMCA, added: “The people that people complain about aren’t invented. They’re coming from within the borough and they have got to be housed somewhere. These are people in need and someone has got to help them.”

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