A RECENT article in The Times on the murder of the schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson in France three years ago suggested that "because the ethos of youth hostels is that they are open to everyone the door.....was always unlocked".
I want to assure the thousands of schools which use youth hostels that they can do so with confidence. Their operation is covered by a comprehensive safety manual which contains the specific instruction that all external doors must be locked at night.
Our French counterparts, the Federation Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse (FUAJ), operate to the same standards, which are laid down and monitored by the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF). The establishment at Pleine Fougeres where the murder occurred is not part of FUAJ. In this country the term "Youth Hostel" is a registered trade mark and it is unfortunate that FUAJ does not have the same level of control.
Anyone contemplating using hostel accommodation should stay with organisations affiliated to the IYHF which carry the blue triangle logo and the words "Hostelling International".
Youth Hostels Association
8 St Stephen's Hill
St Albans, Hertfordshire