Croydon’s borough commander backs the use of stop and search to help continue reductions in levels of knife crime, and invites residents to join the police in swoops on ‘hotspot areas’
Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, the Metropolitan Police’s borough commander, has hailed a 13 per cent drop in the amount of knife crime in Croydon in the 12 months to June, but said the reduction is “just the beginning”.
The recently published crime statistics showed that in Croydon, violent offences against the under-25s had fallen by 20 per cent over the same period.
Croydon has bucked a London-wide trend. Across the capital, there was a 14 per cent increase in knife crime in 2017-2018.
“Croydon has historically had a reputation for this kind of crime,which is why over the last few years we have been working relentlessly with partner agencies and community groups to drive it out,” said Boothe, who describes himself as “very pleased” with the fall in violent crime on his patch.
“However, it is just the beginning. It is not enough to just be doing better, we must continue to work harder and look for more solutions.
“Stop and search is a controversial tool, however I believe when used transparently and with the community’s consent, it provides a necessary deterrent to young people carrying a knife. Every knife recovered and taken off the streets is potentially another life saved and another family spared the heartache of losing a loved one.”
Boothe referred to targeted operations in “hotspot areas”, such as the ones carried out recently in Wandle Park, following reports of gang activity and anti-social behaviour, where the police made arrests for drug dealing and found one large-bladed knife.
Croydon’s top cop said, “We would like to offer you the opportunity to join us and experience these patrols first-hand.” Residents are to contact their neighbourhoood police team for more information.
The police will be running more of these special patrols – what they call their Autumn Nights operation – to deter crime and reassure residents.
“Serious violence is not just a police issue,” Boothe said, “it affects the whole community and we could not have achieved the reductions in crime levels without your continued support.
“Please remain alert – but not alarmed.”
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