A senior Croydon police officer has today refuted completely an article published in a less reliable publication that claimed that parts of the borough could be reduced to having just a single constable on duty during the Olympic Games and, in particular, on August 8, the anniversary of the Croydon riots.
Rob Atkin, the deputy borough commander, described himself as being “extremely disappointed” with the front-page story in today’s Redhill-based Sadvertiser, under the headline “Your community may have a single PC on riots anniversary”.
According to the police, the report is simply untrue.
The lurid scare story even quoted the local MP, Gavin Barwell, as stating that staging the Olympics will place the Met Police under “a lot of pressure”. No shit, Sherlock!
Atkin issued a statement this afternoon which reiterated what his superior officer, David Musker, had said a couple of weeks ago (published here), that measures “such as restricting leave, cancelling training and changing our shift patterns” would provide sufficient cover for day-to-day policing as usual in Croydon.
Indeed, Musker is looking to bolster the number of officers operating in Croydon. Local businesses attending a police forum held last week at Croydon College were again reassured about staffing numbers during the Olympics, and were given the welcome news that after the Games policing in the borough would be increased significantly, unlike most areas in London.
Atkin claimed that the Sadvertiser had failed to quote the police completely or in context. “We … stressed that we had a full compliment of response team officers on duty, which respond to emergency calls and incidents and carry out patrols across the borough,” Atkin said.
“We acknowledge that some SNT [safer neighbourhood team] officers will be away from their teams at times, but at the very minimum at least one police officer will remain on their SNT as well as all PCSOs. This is a minimum though and most teams, most of the time, will have more than this,” the deputy borough commander added.
He added a promise that additional officers will be on duty on the anniversary of 8/8. “I would like to take the opportunity to reassure you that… there will be a very high visible presence of officers on duty in Croydon on 8 August.
“Should the need arise – for whatever the reason – we will also be able to call upon additional resources which will be available centrally within the Met. In fact, this will be the case throughout the whole of the summer, with the ability to have additional resources deployed to Croydon if and when they are needed.
“I fully understand that people have concerns over police presence in Croydon during the summer, and these concerns have been heightened in the past week with stories in the media about the private security arrangements for the Olympic Games.
“However, I want to reiterate what I and Dave have said before – we will have sufficient officers available over the whole summer to deal with our day-to-day policing requirements in Croydon. With 9,000 officers (including officers from other police forces supporting us) on duty across London on the busier days, there will be significantly more officers on the streets than you would normally see.
“Croydon will have its share of these officers and if anything, you are likely to see more officers on patrol in the borough than you might normally expect to see.”
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