Council’s cabinet member admits that crime strategy is still being ‘developed’, two years after an out-of-work Labour politician was put in charge of the borough’s ‘violent crime reduction network’
The police have named the second Croydon 16-year-old to have been fatally stabbed in the past fortnight as Damarie Omare Roye.
He had been attacked on Bensham Manor Road near the junction with Swain Road, the Metropolitan Police said.
The police were already investigating the murder of Camron Smith in Shirley a week earlier.
Croydon politicians have reacted to the two killings by describing an “epidemic of violence” on our streets. According to Croydon Council, they are still working on developing a safety strategy.
In the Roye case, the Met is still seeking witnesses, after making two arrests in connection with his death, one remains in police custody and the other has been released under investigation.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, who is leading the investigation, said this morning: “Damarie was a young man who was popular among those that knew him. His death has caused unimaginable devastation to his family and friends.
“The investigation into his murder is moving at a fast pace and I continue to appeal for witnesses that were in or around Bensham Manor Road on Friday, July 9 at around 14.45hrs to contact us.
“We believe that Damarie may have been riding a blue mountain bike before the attack.
“Anyone who may have seen him in the area – with or without the bike – or who witnessed the attack, is urged to get in touch with the police.”
She also asked people to look out for a dark coloured moped “concealed, abandoned, parked or even being ridden around” in the Thornton Heath area before or after the murder.
In the House of Commons this week, Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, said, “The epidemic of violence on our streets has been growing. Younger and younger boys are losing their lives on our street in horrific murders.”
Fears that the murders of two teenagers may yet be followed by more violent crime were aired at the Town Hall on Monday, when Andy Stranack, the opposition Conservative councillor told a cabinet meeting that when he met with local community groups recently, “There was a real fear that this was the start of a summer of knife and gun crime across our borough.”
Stranack called for an emergency community safety strategy to be drawn up, including the purchase and use of knife arches around the borough.
Manju Shahul-Hameed, who is apparently the Labour council’s cabinet member for communities, safety and business (who knew?), responded by saying, “The safety strategy is being developed.”
It is now two years since the council created a director role for a violence reduction network, modelled on similar successful efforts conducted in Scotland.
But rather than appoint someone with experience or expertise in crime prevention, the council, then under discredited leader Tony Newman, chose instead to hire an out-of-work Labour politician, Sarah Hayward, the former leader of Camden Council.
Hayward was promoted to be Croydon’s “interim executive director of Place” in March this year. Such positions usually carry a salary of around £150,000. Little has been heard since of her near-two years’ work in violence reduction.
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