Reports of ‘cuckooing’, where drug dealers exploit customers by using their homes as a base for their activities, is becoming very prevalent in the media and Miles Ockwell, the police commander for Adur, Worthing and Horsham, expressed his views on the subject in last week’s Herald (Tim Drew’s Neighbourhood Watch column).
‘Cuckooing’ is nothing new and I saw it as a growing problem as time passed during the time I worked as a hostel manager in Brighton.
When I first started working there a question I was often asked, by new residents, was how long could they stay with us.
My answer was that they could remain for as long as they needed the services that we had to offer – 24 hour support, cooked breakfast and evening meals, GP services in-house every Friday, an assigned community psychiatric nurse and so on. Indeed, we had some residents who had been with us for many years.
However, the government regulations changed and people could no long stay in supported hostel accommodation indefinitely, as it was then now assumed that, within just two years, they would have gained sufficient skills and knowledge to start living independently, either in external supported, or even unsupported, housing.
The problem is that, whilst they may well have learnt how to cook, fill in benefit claim forms and gained other social skills, some people, especially if they have mental health issues, will never, in the proverbial Month of Sundays, be able to take control of their own lives. They simply take their problems with them into their move-on accommodation and become very vulnerable to outside influences.
So, ‘cuckooing’ is here and here to stay, continuing to ruin people’s lives, until such time as ‘the powers to be’ start to provide the full-time support that so many of these folk need but are no longer getting.
• Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Herald or Littlehampton Gazette by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Herald or Littlehampton Gazette simply click here.