Police Croydon Debate

Crime statistics by ward added at end on 13 March.

On 22 February the Croydon Debating Club discussed policing with the new Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe. Here are the notes of the discussions

Metropolitan Police context

• Mayor’s draft Policing plan for the next four years is out for consultation. It includes a greater role for setting local policing priorities
• The new head of the Met has been appointed. It will be Cressida Dick
• Over the next four years significant savings still need to be made
• Two-thirds of costs are related to people. Till now the number of officers has been largely protected by the sale of real estate. This will likely change
• Technology will help, for example body worn cameras will help with complaints against the police and domestic violence cases
• Boroughs will likely be merged into ‘Basic Command Units’. Croydon will likely be merged with Sutton and Bromley, the plan is by December 2018

Croydon context

• Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe was appointed Croydon Borough Commander in December 2016. He lives on the borough
• Croydon with 700 police plus 250 staff is 5th or 6th largest borough in terms of staffing but we are most populous borough
• Croydon is near the top of London boroughs for domestic violence, child sexual exploitation and missing children. Missing children partly due to re-housing from Inner London which these children tend to migrate back to
o We have more missing children than the whole of Germany

What Croydon is doing

• Travel time from local police stations to the wards is an issue. Sharing facilities with other emergency services is being looked at
• Collaboration with other partners such as the Fire Service
o Fire Service can spot domestic violence when they fit smoke alarms
• Collaboration with taxi firms and others to identify runaways quickly
• Ward officers are ring-fenced from other activities. Busy wards have extra officers, for example Broad Green has six
• Police are often first to the scene and get tied up when they cannot pass responsibility to another service, such as mental health services
• Gang violence an issue. Stabbing victims can seek revenge rather than pursue prosecution through the justice system
• No after school activity so schoolchildren congregate at McDonalds
• Enforcement of 20 mph zones will be discussed shortly by Chief Superintendent Boothe and Councillor Stuart King

Night-time economy

• Need better lighting in the town centre and elsewhere
• Need a mixed economy, not ‘vertical’ drinking where people stay in one place and get very drunk. Pre-fuelling is an issue
• Closing Tiger-Tiger reduced town centre footfall so other venues are admitting drunk people who would previously have been refused entry
• Licensees should be held accountable
• Licensing authority makes judgements on licensing with police/other input
• Boxpark security is working well

Future challenges of Westfield

• Noise and new homes in the central area brings potential conflict
• West Croydon station is a gateway to Croydon but is also a high-crime area
o Risks reinforcing visitors’ poor perceptions of Croydon
o State of Saint Georges Walk doesn’t help
o Small groups with gang links are being targeted by police
• How do we change perceptions?
o Croydon BID and Westfield being proactively engaged
o Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) can be useful
• Westfield a priority but risks pushing troublemakers out into public spaces

How the public can help

• The public needs to help: 37% of 999 calls are not emergencies
• Use Met-trace initiative including Smartwater to identify stolen property
• Get involved as volunteers, Specials, Ward panels or Neighbourhood Watch
• Report suspicions – Cannabis factories often identified through locally supplied information
• Quantity of evidence helps. Report suspicions and information by 101
• Motor cycle crime an issue – police don’t chase suspects without helmets
• Find out who your local police team is
• Follow @MPSCroydon and other Ward police on Twitter. User comments:
o Contact like Twitter humanises the police
o Need to advertise Twitter feeds and the relevant areas
o Areas are too broad e.g. New Addington falls under South Croydon
• Contact “Safer London” for support for young people affected by violence
• Note: Community budgets can help fund Neighbourhood Watch

The next Croydon Debating Club meeting will be on

March 29 at Project B
to discuss air pollution with Cabinet member Councillor Stuart King.
Please sign up here if you will be coming along.
For background on the Council’s consultation on  action on air pollution see
 Croydon Advertiser has analysed the spread of crime across the wards at

 

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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