A FORMER security guard at the city’s YMCA has called for a review into staff and resident safety after the facility came ‘under siege’ from troubled youths.

The night concierge, who did not wish to be named, resigned after he was allegedly assaulted during a shift by a resident at the Henwick Road charity, as staff “lost control”.

The 45-year-old dad, who had only worked there for six weeks on the day in question, claims he was later prevented from filling out an incident report.

With the building set to be converted into student accommodation by summer 2020, he hopes the incident is not swept “under the carpet” as there appears to be a “shocking disregard for staff welfare”.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if something else happens up there between now and the place closing,” he said.

“I just hope it’s not something serious because I think the potential is there for something very serious to happen soon unless something is done.”

The man, who lives in Worcester, said the culprit for the attack on Sunday, June 2, was arrested and he believes they were high on cannabis and MDMA.

“I think it is well known in this area that there is a drug problem at the Worcester YMCA, but I was shocked at just how deep it ran,” he said.

He went on to describe how “the stench of cannabis is just unbelievable” in the corridors and staff were regularly verbally abused by a “core group” of teenage residents.

Another incident saw an adult resident with “mental instability” go “running around with a kitchen knife one night tucked into her belt” making “threats to go and kill her ex-boyfriend”, he claimed.

“It comes back to safeguarding and procedure and protocol – things like that shouldn’t be happening.”

He said he was given the job on an ongoing zero-hour contract by agency A&E Services Ltd in Redditch and started at the end of April.

Part of the remit was to have completed SIA licenced training, which he had, having done a number of security jobs in the past.

“It was sold to me as a security concierge role but the more I got into the job it became apparent it was 10 per cent that, but [90] per cent support work.

“I thought I was taking on a lot more within the role that was more relevant to somebody who had a background in social work and specialist safeguarding skills, care work – that kind of a role.”

On the night in question, he arrived for his shift at 9pm and was made aware in a handover briefing that one teenage female resident, understood to be below 18, had been smoking cannabis all day.

He was then made aware that a resident, understood to be in his 20s, had had his cigarettes forcibly taken off him by the girl.

Soon after the shift started there was a “commotion” and the guard heard “running down the corridor” before he found the resident and two females in tears in reception – and the former claimed to have been assaulted.

“After that, things just went absolutely crazy,” he said. “There’s this hardcore group of youngsters there who take drugs, they shoplift, they don’t go anywhere really outside their gang. They are always together and that’s where the trouble starts.”

The guard and another security colleague locked themselves into the security office with the three distressed residents as the main offender was “banging on the door” and “screaming abuse”.

He said that as they waited for the police to arrive, “it had become like a siege, the resident in question, her behaviour became more erratic”.

At one point, as things appeared to calm down, the guard opened the door and confronted the ringleader but was punched in the face, before retreating, he claims.

“It really felt like we had lost control and were out of our depth,” he continued.

“We don’t have the powers of restraint that the police have, we don’t have the tools at our disposal.

“We don’t have pepper spray or batons, or anything like that. We just have the power to say to people ‘stop, don’t do that’ and that’s it.”

After the police had arrived and he had given his statement, the on-call manager, who had also come to the scene, told the guard to go home.

“I needed to fill out a guard report and a separate incident report for my agency,” he continued. “He was like ‘no, you can’t do any of that’. I was like, ‘why? This is procedure.’”

The guard said he told the manager he couldn’t “work under these circumstances” and was allegedly told: “Well, you knew what you were taking on when you took the job.”

“I was angry and taken aback at the time,” he said. “Are you telling me that assault is part of the job? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

"They are supposed to be a Christian organisation and their values are supposed to brought upon and they are telling me that assault is the norm. I was gobsmacked, shocked.

“I know the YMCA is set to close later this year but that’s no excuse to let standards drop. Staff are at risk, residents are at risk. There’s no excuse.”

“It comes from the top down. Complaints come from the top down, but it’s hard to instigate change when nobody listens to you,” he added.

Alan Moorhouse, YMCA head of adults and communities, said the organisation supports “some of the most vulnerable in our community” but that the safety of residents and staff is “of paramount importance”.

He went on to say the Henwick Road site provides 24/7 onsite staff, and the communal areas in the building are covered by CCTV, while welfare checks are regularly carried out, in line with a “comprehensive safeguarding policy”.

“We have robust procedures that ensure any issues are dealt with appropriately and the possession and use of drugs and alcohol on site is prohibited,” he continued.

“All complaints and allegations are thoroughly investigated, working closely with the police and safeguarding board.”

Richard Keble, assistant director of adult services at Worcestershire County Council said: “Any concerns for adults with care and support needs, or concerns regarding the safety of children should be raised with our safeguarding teams.

“Our priority is the safety of people in the county and any issues that are raised to the county council are investigated.”

Safeguarding concerns should be raised by calling 01905 768053 (Adult Safeguarding) or 01905 822666 (Family Front Door – concerns regarding children). A council spokesman said the concern is being followed up after it was alerted to them by the Worcester News.

A spokesman for the agency said: “Unfortunately, due to GDPR compliance and no consent supplied, I can not discuss matters of any of our employees, who have not given us permission to do so.

“I can confirm that we have no written statement, grievances or complaints, etc, from any of employees relating to the incident.”

West Mercia Police was unavailable for comment.