‘Hundreds’ of police call outs to Ipswich care facility, with neighbours ‘abused’
PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 July 2020
Police have been called to an Ipswich care facility for vulnerable adults hundreds of times in just 18 months, it is claimed, with neighbours complaining of constant disturbances.
The Stella Maris facility, off Hadleigh Road, was opened in late 2018 by Swanton Care and provides supported living accommodation for eight adults.
It registered with the Care Quality Commission in July 2019, but has not been inspected since it opened.
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has called the cost of call-outs to the home a ‘considerable burden’ on the police force and raised the issue with Chief Constable Steve Jupp.
“There has been an excessive use of police time and we are not there to run a care home for people,” Mr Passmore said.
“I am deeply concerned by the use of police time for something which is avoidable and the disturbance to residents has been unacceptable.”
Stephen Morton lives next door to the facility and believes his home has been significantly devalued by the disturbances and he is now ‘trapped’ there.
“My granddaughters won’t come and visit me here anymore, that’s how sad it is,” he explained.
“I have had medication and cigarettes thrown over my fence, had abuse shouted at me, we hear swearing and all sorts of shouting even late at night.”
Mr Morton says he has recorded more than 200 police attendances since the supported living facility opened but believes the figures may be even higher.
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Fire engines and ambulances have also regularly attended the facility according to reports from residents and Suffolk police confirmed there has been a ‘significant’ number of calls to the address.
A spokesman for Swanton Care said the care provider recognises the complaints raised by neighbours with regards to various disturbances.
They said: “We are working actively with our agency partners to address these issues urgently.
“The people we support at Stella Maris are some of the more vulnerable members of the local community and in some instances, this has created tension with the local community – particularly during this period of lockdown.
“We would like to apologise for any distress people may have experienced because of any of these incidents to date.”
The company is offering reassurances that there is a plan in place to remedy the situation, however neighbours such as Mr Morton fear nothing will change.
Chris Hudson, councillor for Belstead Brook, has called for an inquiry into the situation and said: “It is a living nightmare for the residents nearby.”
Suffolk County Council is aware of the situation and issued a joint statement with the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Babergh District Council.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of a difficult and unfortunate situation that has arisen between local residents and a small minority of individuals living within a supported living setting.
“The needs of the individuals involved are incredibly complex and as such a multi-agency approach is being taken to support those individuals with their behavioural needs.
The council said all partners are working closely together to resolve the situation and a spokesman for Suffolk police added: “We are aware of ongoing issues at the premises involving its residents and are working closely with the premises managers and owner, as well as partners from the council, to identify a solution to resolve these problems.”
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