There will be no Olympic crime spree here, says Musker

David Musker: all available officers were used on 8/8, he says

Dave Musker, the borough police commander, today sought to reassure the Croydon public that there would be no reduction in service in the coming month because of the Olympic Games.

“Anybody out there who thinks that there will be opportunities to commit crime in Croydon because all our officers will be in central London will be mistaken,” Musker said.

Police in London could be facing a “perfect storm” in the next four weeks, with the biggest security operation this country has ever seen during the Olympics coinciding with the first anniversary of the riots that hit the capital – in particular Croydon – last August.

Mentioning the 8/8 riots anniversary, Musker wrote in his monthly newsletter, “I am also aware of concerns within communities that some individuals are planning on causing…  We’ve learnt many lessons from last year and put in place measures that will help us deal much more effectively with any future incidence of disorder.”

Musker dismissed reports published this week that during last August’s riots reinforcements from outside London were left sitting in vans in car parks, unable to assist while businesses and homes burned to the ground.

“I want to be clear with you and give you my assurance that all possible resources that were available to me on the night of 8 August were utilised out on the streets to tackle the criminality and disorder and to arrest offenders,” Musker said.

The Olympic Games begin three weeks tomorrow, on July 27, and to cope, police shift patterns have been changed, annual leave restricted and training has been cancelled to ensure that as many officers are available for duty.

Musker said: “Here in Croydon, all of the local SNTs will still be on duty throughout the summer, all the response teams will be ready to respond to emergency calls and our CID and specialist squads will also continue to investigate crime and target offenders proactively. Anybody out there who thinks that there will be opportunities to commit crime in Croydon because all our officers will be in central London, will be mistaken.”

Musker’s email is reproduced in full here:

I am writing this month to address two issues: that of the Olympics, which starts in around 3 weeks and about the upcoming anniversary of last August’s disorder in Croydon.

Regarding the latter, there have been some recent stories in local and national media suggesting that officers from other police forces supporting the Met police on mutual aid were not deployed to Croydon when they could have been.

I want to be clear with you and give you my assurance that all possible resources that were available to me on the night of 8 August were utilised out on the streets to tackle the criminality and disorder and to arrest offenders.

A thorough review of the Met’s tactics and strategy during the disorder last August was carried out and this report was made public in March. As a result, we’ve made some significant changes to the way that we police public order situations. The Met has trained 1750 more public order officers and a new mobilisation plan to get officers on the streets more efficiently has also been put in place, which has already been successfully tested on occasions.

It is disappointing that the issues that have come to light in the past few days – suggesting that officers were turned away from Croydon – have only now surfaced. The Met has acknowledged that there were many lessons to learn from the way the disorder was handled, but all officers and police forces were given the chance to provide any feedback through numerous de-briefs that were held as part of the review and at no stage were similar concerns raised previously.

The Countdown to the Games

The Olympics are now within touching distance. Our role during the Games is to ensure that they pass off safely and peacefully without incident – that applies as much here in Croydon as it does to the Olympic venues. Officers from Croydon will be part of the Olympic policing operation but it is important that you know this does not mean there will be a lack of police in Croydon as a result.

With the measures that have been put in place this summer; restricting annual leave; changing our shift patterns; and cancelling training; it means that there will be more officers than ever across London. Here in Croydon, all of the local SNTs will still be on duty throughout the summer, all the response teams will be ready to respond to emergency calls and our CID and specialist squads will also continue to investigate crime and target offenders proactively.

Anybody out there who thinks that there will be opportunities to commit crime in Croydon because all our officers will be in central London, will be mistaken.

With the extra support that the Met will be receiving from other police forces throughout the Games, we will even see additional officers deployed to Croydon to support us. It will be very much business as usual for us here in Croydon, so please do pass this message to your friends family and communities.

Finally, back onto the issue of the anniversary of last August’s disorder, I am also aware of concerns within communities that some individuals are planning on causing. As I’ve said above, we’ve learnt many lessons from last year and put in place measures that will help us deal much more effectively with any future incidence of disorder.

The perception that there will be very few officers on the streets of Croydon is misguided. As I’ve explained, there will be more officers than ever in London this summer and local Croydon officers will be in the borough to deal with business as usual.

As I’ve said to my officers, this summer will be a summer like no other. It will be a big challenge for the Met and it will be a big challenge for us in Croydon. However, I am confident that we have put in place the right measures to ensure that we keep our communities in Croydon safe.

As always, if you have any concerns or feedback, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and I wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer and Olympics.

Kind regards,

Dave
Chief Superintendent David Musker
Croydon Police Borough Commander

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