The Metropolitan Police invited Depaul UK’s Nightstop London service into New Scotland Yard – so officers could learn more about becoming volunteer hosts for the emergency accommodation service.

Nightstop hosts provide emergency accommodation for young people, aged from 16 to 25, who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Hosts offer their Nightstop guests a hot meal, a private bedroom washing facilities and a listening ear.

Inspector Andy Briers, who has been a Nightstop host for six years, organised a lunchtime drop-in session to try to get other Met staff interested in hosting.

Insp. Briers, of the Met’s Central Specialist Crime unit, said: “Nightstop hosting is all about making a difference to someone’s life. If a young person doesn’t have somewhere to sleep tonight, what’s the alternative: sleeping on the bus or sleeping rough? In those situations, young people are more susceptible to becoming victims of crime.

“I got involved in Nightstop after reading a newspaper article on it about six years ago and my wife Michelle and I have been hosting ever since. We’ve hosted up to 40 young people, and some have stayed for weeks.”

He added: “When my boys were growing up, it was good for them to see what it is like for young people growing up in London who are not as fortunate as they are with a stable family life, a roof over their head and three square meals a day.

“We built up some really good rapport with the young people who stayed. A lot of them were refugees from all over the world. We have travelled a lot and were able to connect with them. It was lovely to help people.”

Chief Inspector Penny Hands, of the Met’s Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement unit, also attended the event and said she would “absolutely encourage” Met officers to train to become Nightstop London hosts.

She said: “I can see the benefits for the young people. We have a huge network of people involved in community policing and this is something I would like to push out through them as well.”

Ben Witcombe, Nightstop London’s Senior Prevention Officer, said: “We are always looking to recruit more volunteer hosts and were very pleased that Inspector Andy invited us into New Scotland Yard for this great event.

“As a long-standing Nightstop host, Inspector Andy is perfectly placed to encourage others with a spare room in their homes to train to be Nightstop London hosts. In addition to his role as a host Andy has been a great advocate for Nightstop and has promoted our cause through a blog he wrote for the Met’s intranet.”

Email if you are interested in volunteering for Nightstop London.

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