The police team operating in Croydon’s Town Centre is to be more than halved, from 22 to 10 officers.
It is little more than six months since the 8/8 riots hit Croydon, when a thin blue line tried to hold off the mayhem in North End and around the Whitgift Centre, as areas of London Road were trashed for lack of available officers, residents had to lock themselves in their homes in fear, and footage of the blaze at Reeves Corner became a symbol for Broken Britain with TV stations around the world.
But now Inside Croydon learns that with the Metropolitan Police‘s funding under severe pressure, Croydon’s new Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent David Musker, has been forced to strip the Town Centre of the majority of its policing strength.
This latest move follows an earlier cut back, when Croydon’s police unit in the Town Centre was merged with the Fairfield ward neighbourhood team. In total, six sergeants have been cut from the borough’s well-regarded Safer Neighbourhood teams.
Other cuts have been made around the rest of the borough, too, with Kenley station being earmarked for a cost-cutting closure.
In the Town Centre, the 10 officers who will be left on the staff list will represent just the bare minimum to fulfil the agreement through the Business Improvement District, or BID, under which the local businesses pay for five officers on condition that another five officers are match-funded by the Met.
Local business leaders are feeling short-changed by the police, who they accuse of abusing the agreement with businesses, who say that they were led to believe that they were providing funding for extra officers.
“It’s like they are leaving us with no police officers in the Town Centre other than the ones we contracted with the police service for,” a leading Croydon businessman said.
“The Met is actually providing zero policing outside the agreement.”
This seems likely to become a key issue in the upcoming Mayoral and London Assembly elections, with the Conservatives insisting that there are no cuts to police numbers in London despite all evidence to the contrary.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough, free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
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