Police respond to calls spike after ‘vulnerable’ families move into Doncaster Travelodge

Picture: PA.
Picture: PA.
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Four “vulnerable” families moved almost 90 miles to stay in a budget hotel in Doncaster caused so many problems that calls for help from the police spiked.

Senior officers at South Yorkshire Police realised there was a particular problem after the numbers of incidents around the town’s Travelodge spiralled.

Subsequent investigations found that Peterborough Council was using the hotel to put up families with problems because of local accommodation shortages.

The impact on policing in Doncaster was such that senior officers intervened and those involved in the troubles were moved back to Peterborough.

It is unclear how many individuals were involved but Peterborough Council has now accepted it should have worked more closely with Doncaster Council.

The situation was revealed by Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts at a meeting of the Public Accountability Board hosted by South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings.

Mr Roberts said: “We have had demand at Doncaster from Travelodge that is unusual. Vulnerable people are being sent.

“Peterborough Council were telling people they had picked a Travelodge in South Yorkshire. There was no communication with us. We raised it with the local authority but they had not been approached by Peterborough.

“It is not fair to the vulnerable person, who is given a train ticket and pointed north. It is not fair on staff in the Travelodge. It is not fair on other residents. It is not fair on our staff,” he said.

The situation has now been addressed between the police and Peterborough Council, and it has been raised with government.

Dr Billings told Mr Roberts: “It is scandalous what you have described. I assume other councils are doing similar things?”

Mr Roberts said: “It is something we are now aware of. It is a stunt which is out there.”

In response to the matter, Peterborough Council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Peter Hiller, said: “I agree we could have worked closer with the council in Doncaster while supporting these four families.

“At the time following assessment with the families, we did not anticipate any support from authorities in Doncaster was needed. If we had concerns we would have raised them.

“Shortages in emergency accommodation, homelessness and housing are national problems affecting all local authorities.

“We want to avoid situations like this in future and want a long term solution. We have raised these issues nationally.”