Shhh! Keep it quiet, Hammersfield have a policing plan

Who knew?

Croydon Partnership Westfield Hammerson logo HammersfieldThe Croydon Partnership is staging a not-so-public public event tomorrow. You may not be aware of it. It is so hush-hush that the people behind the £1 billion redevelopment scheme haven’t even bothered to mention it on their own website.

Croydon Partnership’s “Community Roadshow” sets up shop in Addiscombe and Ashburton tomorrow, at St Mildred’s on Bingham Road from 1pm to 4pm, to discuss “Delivering Our Community Plan”. But you’d only know about this meeting if you were lucky enough to have a leaflet thrust through your letterbox.

That’s the thing with “public consultations”: if you make sure as few members of the public take part in them, then you reduce the risk of anyone twigging what you’re up to, or trying to contradict whatever “masterplan” you might have.

In this case, it’s something called the “Partners in the Town” initiative, and it has undertones of a private security scheme for the centre of Croydon.

Croydon Partners are also known as Hammersfield, the shot-gun marriage between Westfield and Hammerson who might, some day, get around to building a new supermall where the Whitgift Centre is today. They’ve been talking about little else for four years…

Croydon Partners

The Croydon Partnership’s latest roadshow leaflet. A rare and treasured artefact, only a few select residents have managed to glimpse this document

“Our mission is to be a good neighbour and enhance the ongoing regeneration of Croydon creating jobs, training and new business opportunities,” says their blurb. Without actually detailing how they intend to do any of this, beyond creating a new temple to retail and a load of new flats as some sort of panacea to all the ills of suburban London in the 21st century.

The leaflet for tomorrow’s event was helpfully sent through to us by Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader.

The leaflet explains that, “The Partners in the Town initiative was launched…” did you get invited to the “launch”? Or ever read about it actually taking place? No? Nor did we… “… with the aim of working with the police to deliver a safer town and maintaining regular contact and dialogue with local residents across Croydon as the scheme progresses.”

Small hint, Hammersfield: if you truly want to maintain regular contact and dialogue with local residents, it might be a good idea to publicise your events a little better than you have been doing. Otherwise, some people might start suspecting your motivation.

Such as over this initiative with the police.

Inside Croydon has already warned how Hammersfield appear to have got Croydon’s supposedly Labour-run council to lay the groundwork for a wide-ranging private security zone, with a PSPO – Public Spaces Protection Order. It’s like the drinking in public areas ban, but with far wider powers, and for a much bigger area in central Croydon.


PSPO: make sure you don’t drop your shopping in central Croydon, or you could face a fine

The PSPO would give to the council many of the powers over anti-social and illegal activity currently held by the police. It would allow the council to hire its own little army of private security guards to prowl central Croydon, enforcing their vision of “law and order” with £100 on-the-spot fines, often for the most petty of misdemeanours.

At a time when Tory spending cuts are seeing police numbers under threat again, for thrusting and enterprising business types who want to discourage what Lady Colin Campbell might refer to as “the oiks” from their shiny new supermall, an all-embracing PSPO upheld by private security staff. It’s what amounts to the outsourcing of policing on our streets.

We got a glimpse of how the privatisation of our police works on the night of the Croydon riots in 2011, when the thin blue line was arranged at the top-end of North End, at the limit of the Croydon BID area. Businesses in the BID – business improvement district – pay a little bit extra for additional road-sweeping and an occasional extra bobby on the beat. On that infamous night, they got extra protection, too, as the police kept the arsonists and looters at bay from the BID, and watched as shops and homes on non-BID London Road went up in flames.

The comedian, Mark Thomas, calls PSPOs “beggar traps”, providing councils with “new powers to entrap the poor, to criminalise them, put them into debt and into prison”. And under the leadership of Tony Newman, a Labour council in Croydon is preparing the groundwork to introduce a PSPO across central Croydon, apparently at the behest of big business, such as Hammersfield.

Of course, tomorrow’s Croydon Partnership roadshow, if any of the public actually manage to go to it, may be able to dispel such suspicions.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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4 Responses to Shhh! Keep it quiet, Hammersfield have a policing plan

  1. Tomorrow, the Croydon Philharmonic Choir will be rehearsing at St Mildred’s all afternoon prior to their concert there the same evening at 7.30.

    The Hammersfield Roadshow will be there too. My advice is to pop into the roadshow late-ish and then to stay on for the choral concert. There you will be able to listen to sounds that are ethereal, sentiments that are sincere and to a group of people who only really want to do good. Just like the buzzing of the honeybees swarming round Hammersfield, you may think. Or not.

  2. blath8 says:

    Would have gone along to this if I had been one of the lucky ones to receive one of those flyers. However, living in Waddon, we weren’t lucky enough ……

    • Think they may have already had one in Waddon. But at fairly short notice, just to make it difficult for anyone interested to attend if they already had commitments…

  3. Rod Davies says:

    Now that’s very fascinating, Croydon BID made no attempt to advise ECCO that this community consultation was occurring as far as I am aware. I am sure that many of the ECCO members would have liked to attend, and I am equally certain that ECCO would have tried to promote the event to residents and businesses.
    Of it is wild speculation, but perhaps Croydon Partnership (like Croydon Council) are reluctant to engage with the community most closely located to the future shopping centre as they feared they would get a rough ride.

    If any reader would like to find out more about the Croydon Local Plan see below:
    Find out about how the Croydon Local Plan will affect our area from council planning officers any time from 3.30-8pm 2nd December 2015 at Christchurch, 114 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 6AD (between Tesco and Canning Rd).
    I do hope that as many people as possible from across the borough will come along and find out about the plans the council has for our futures! This consultation session is one of a handful across the borough and will be the last time anyone will be able to express an opinion.

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