Unconfirmed reports suggest a turf war between south London gangs could be behind the outbreak of violence on Croydon streets last night, with too few police to prevent such deadly incidents
In a couple of hours of unprecedented savagery in Croydon last night, one man died from wounds and the police reported nine other stabbings taking place.
Unconfirmed reports link the violence to a gang war, involving groups from across south London, including Peckham.
Two men remain in hospital with what have been described as “life-threatening injuries”.
The police say that there is no evidence connecting the incidents, which occurred in Broad Green, Selhurst and the town centre. Two arrests were made, while through the night and into this morning, a large part of the borough was subject to special policing powers for stop and search.
The MP for Croydon North, Steve Reed, called the night, “Absolutely horrific news that will devastate our community.”
The timeline of events, according to official police reports, was as follows:
Police are called to Chapman Road, Broad Green, to reports of a stabbing. A man is taken to hospital where his “condition was assessed as not life-threatening”.
Four men, all aged in their 20s, present to what the police describe as “a south London hospital”, thought to be Mayday, suffering from stab and slash injuries. “One of those males is at this time believed to be in a life-threatening condition,” according to the police report.
Police respond to a call at Wisbeach Road, Selhurst, to reports of two men with stab injuries. Before the police arrive, one of the men has been taken to hospital, according to the police “condition not life-threatening”. The police report states: “Another male was found at the scene. Despite the best efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin are aware.”
Police get another call to “a south London hospital”, when two more men arrive at A&E with stab injuries. “The condition of one of the males at this time is being treated as life-threatening,” the police say.
Police respond to another call-out, this time to Dingwall Road, near East Croydon Station, after reports of a stabbing, where they made one arrest on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm – GBH. “The victim too has been arrested; at this stage it is not thought that the victim’s condition is life-threatening,” the police report states.
The Metropolitan Police’s Violent Crime Taskforce and Territorial Support Group were called in “to deter and prevent any further violence”, the police said.
Det Supt Nicky Arrowsmith said, “Sadly, tonight we have seen a number of needless and completely abhorrent violent altercations, including one that has tragically resulted in a loss of life.
“Officers will be on patrol throughout the night across the South Area Command Unit, with additional resources from the Violent Crime Taskforce and Territorial Support Group deployed to deter and prevent any further violence.
“A Section 60 order granting police additional stop and search powers is in place across Croydon, until 8am on Saturday February 6.
“Tackling violent crime in London remains the top priority for everyone in the Metropolitan Police service. We have dedicated resources working to prevent, deter and tackle violence in all its forms, day and night and are utilising all available tactics and powers.
“Our officers continue to work around the clock to identify and pursue offenders, bring perpetrators to justice, support victims, take weapons off the street, engage and reassure the public, and keep our communities safe in London.”
Reports on social media quoted gang members as saying, “The police are fighting a losing battle.”
The lack of officers on the streets after a decade of austerity and cuts to the Met Police was given as a reason for the manner in which the attacks could take place.
This morning, Jason Perry, the leader of the Conservative opposition at Croydon Council, said, “The reports of 10 stabbings in Croydon are an absolute tragedy.
“We must redouble our efforts to tackle the scourge of knife crime as our communities deserve nothing less.”
At the time of publication, there had been no public statement made by Hamida Ali, the leader of the council, nor from the council’s press office.
The police have urged anyone with information to contact officers or anonymously through Crimestoppers.
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