To have one senior police officer issue a statement refuting a front-page story in a local newspaper must be embarrassing for the paper. But to have two such statements issued within a matter of days ought to be cause for some worrying times at the Redhill head offices of the Sadvertiser.
Following his deputy’s statement issued on Friday over claims in the rag that there will be no police presence in some parts of Croydon during the Olympic Games, including the anniversary of the 8/8 riots last year, yesterday, Dave Musker, Croydon’s Borough Commander, also weighed in.
This is Musker’s statement:
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some issues and concerns about the levels of police that will be operating in Croydon over the summer and during the Olympics.
Officers from Croydon will be used as part of the Olympics policing operation. However, we have activated a number of ‘levers’; restricting leave; cancelling training; and altering our shift patterns; all to ensure that we still have the right number of officers on duty and on the streets in Croydon to meet the day-to-day policing requirements of the borough.
This means we will have a full compliment of response team officers on duty, as well as our normal proactive squads, CID teams and investigative units to deal with all the normal policing that goes on in Croydon 24/7.
An article in the local press has singled out one particular element of our policing mix – Safer Neighbourhoods Teams (SNTs) – and implied that these are the only officers on duty within our ‘communities’.
This is misleading and is clearly not the case and as I’ve stated above, there are response teams, proactive squads, CID and investigative units that are all part of the mix of officers and teams that we have to police the borough at any given time.
SNTs are one part of this mix and consist of police officers and PCSOs whose primary role is to tackle long-term issues of crime and antisocial behaviour specific to their local ward. SNTs work shift patterns and do not provide a 24/7 response service – this has always been the case and SNTs do not work every day either.
In addition to resources we have on the borough, we will also see additional officers coming to Croydon over the summer. The MPS is being supported during the Olympics by other police forces and on the busier days, there will be 9,000 officers on the streets of London. Croydon will see its share of these officers coming to the borough and if and when the need arises, there will also be the option to deploy further officers here.
With all of these measures in place, my message to residents, businesses and visitors in Croydon this summer is that there will be sufficient police officers on the streets to meet the daily policing requirements of Croydon. We will not be giving criminals an opportunity to commit crime this summer and anyone who thinks otherwise will find out that we have a robust policing plan in place to deal with them.
The Sadvertiser has yet to publish online any of the comments made by the police on Friday, and although they have posted the original article online, it is without the byline of the reporter, and nor is it given particular prominence on the news page.
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