The police in Coulsdon are having to pack up and stop working before 8pm each night – at least in part because it takes them so long to get back to their nearest police station to finalise their paperwork.
That’s the startling admission in a report from officers this week, and comes when there has been a spate of late-night break-ins and car thefts in Old Coulsdon.
The lack of any later patrols from the Coulsdon East Safer Neighbourhood Team appears to be a consequence of the closure of most of Croydon’s police stations under the previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The police station closures was a decision backed enthusiastically by Kenley councillor Steve O’Connell, who is also the Tory London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton. The impact is now being felt in Old Coulsdon.
“We do not work night shifts,” the local police’s report states, baldly.
“The latest we work is 8pm, but have to get back to the base in Addington to do paperwork before then.”
Travel time from Coulsdon to Addington is longer than when the officers could use the police station at Kenley, giving them less time to patrol the streets. Now closed, Kenley police station was in O’Connell’s own ward.
After the regular patrols end for the day, all areas of Croydon still have police cover for 999 calls from officers and vehicles operating from a town centre base.
“When we are not working, [the] response team cover the ward as they do with the rest of Croydon,” the officers’ report continues.
“We have however managed to amend some future shifts to work later and will target residents’ concerns when we do these.”
The Safer Neighbourhood Team’s report was issued via the local councillors for Coulsdon East – O’Connell’s Conservative colleagues at Croydon Town Hall.
The report included figures which contradicted numerous claims that there has been no enforcement of speed limits on local roads, ahead of the roll-out of 20mph zones on the borough’s residential streets.
On August 24, in Coulsdon East alone, 36 drivers were given warnings for speeding, with the police reporting that they had conducted “thousands” of speed checks.
Coulsdon East’s Safer Neighbourhood Team operates with two constables and one PCSO – again, a reduction in staffing introduced when Boris Johnson was London Mayor, with financial control over the Metropolitan Police.
Among other recent arrests, the Coulsdon East team reports: “One male processed for no insurance after driving a moped dangerously on Caterham Drive. The moped was seized by police.
“One male arrested for a high-value theft after being stopped in his vehicle on Coulsdon Road.
“One male arrested and now charged by CID for two burglaries that occurred on The Parade in Coulsdon.”
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