Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, the first black officer appointed by the Metropolitan Police to be Croydon’s Borough Commander, has confirmed that neither he nor any other officers will be attending meetings organised by the controversial Croydon Community Consortium.
Boothe is maintaining the policy of his predecessor, Andy Tarrant, in enforcing a strict police boycott of CCC. When one of its officials tweeted a series of racist and Islamophobic messages, CCC’s chairwoman, Elizabeth Ash, and her committee refused to take any action.
Although CCC claims to be “apolitical”, Ash’s committee has included among its officers leading members of UKIP and the local Conservative Party, and in the past month it has circulated Tory campaign material.
Boothe broke off from a period of annual leave to respond to Inside Croydon this week and state that, despite CCC publicising on its website that he would be attending one of their meetings, he will not be going.
“I have no intention of attending a CCC meeting,” Boothe said.
A Croydon police source confirmed that, given “the context and history” surrounding CCC, “there is no change to the policy that CS Tarrant instigated regarding police attending any CCC meeting”.
Croydon’s top cop appears to be taking a firmer line against racism and apologists for racists within CCC than Croydon Council is managing.
The council has so far failed to secure the return of thousands of pounds of public money, the unspent portion of a grant to CCC.
It is now nearly two years since Nathan Elvery, when the council’s chief executive, confirmed that CCC had been in breach of its grant-funding conditions and that it was obliged to repay more than £2,000 or risk court recovery action.
This determination to recover the public money was subsequently confirmed by councillor Mark Watson when he was the council cabinet member responsible.
But Hamida Ali, a former equalities officer for the BBC and Watson’s replacement as cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, has failed to respond to questions about the progress, or the lack of it, in recovering the public money from CCC.
And a council ban on attending CCC events, originally imposed under Elvery, appears to be forgotten by Labour figures at the Town Hall. Veteran councillor Maggie Mansell has taken to attending the cosy CCC get-togethers, and Stuart King, the cabinet member for roads policy, attended this week’s event staged for the benefit of car lobbyist Peter Morgan on the council’s 20mph zones.
The “apolitical” CCC promoted the meeting by merrily re-publishing the misinformation campaign material generated by Croydon Conservatives as part of their “Carry on Speeding” opposition to the road safety policy.
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