Perry’s new PSPO zone is ‘just window-dressing’ say critics

Surrey Street traders to establish group to represent their interests after council ignored their pleas for help over thefts and violence on Croydon’s historic street market

Action: traders working on Surrey Street Market are banding together after their pleas were ignored by the council and the police

Mayor Jason Perry is axing more than 20 Neighbourhood Safety Officers, but he has re-introduced a PSPO – a Public Spaces Protection Order – which he says will give the police extra powers in the town centre and surrounding area to act on antisocial behaviour.

Those accused of anti-social behaviour in the PSPO could face a fixed penalty notice of £100 or prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court potentially leading to a criminal conviction and a fine of up to £1,000.

The council says, “The PSPO will help to tackle a range of antisocial behaviour in the town centre.” But given the events of last weekend and the Metropolitan Police’s arbitrary arrest of dozens of people using the new Public Order Act, many suggest that Croydon’s PSPO is unnecessary, excessive and a potential for creating flashpoints.

“The police already have plenty of powers of arrest,” one Katharine Street critic told Inside Croydon.

“A few plastic maps posted on lamp-posts down North End is not going to do anything to change the fundamental issues we face. As with so much with Mayor Perry, this is just window-dressing.”

Shopping trip: Mayor Perry and his mates about to pop in to Zara. Critics say his PSPO is just window-dressing, and that the police already have plenty of powers of arrest

The PSPO area is larger than previous zones, extending from North End and Fairfield ward into West Croydon, Broad Green and parts of Waddon. The council claims to have “overwhelming support” for the PSPO from residents and businesses.

Yet traders on Surrey Street, Croydon’s historic street market, say that they have been ignored and abandoned by the council, the police, the Croydon BID organisation and their ward’s Labour councillor after repeated pleas for greater protection and more patrols to deter drug dealing, ASB, thefts and violence against the shopkeepers and stall-holders.

Unconvinced by the effectiveness of a PSPO without the presence of Met officers on the beat or the now redundant NSOs, Surrey Street businesses are banding together to form a traders’ organisation to represent their interests, including lobbying for better policing and services from the council.

Zoning out: the new PSPO area (marked in blue)

The council maintains that the PSPO means the police will have the power to issue on-the-spot fines or prosecute offenders who refuse to comply with the order.

The PSPO is set to run for the next three years; the council says that it will be reviewed regularly “to ensure that it remains effective in addressing the targeted behaviours”.

A first review will be conducted in early July, “as part of a commitment to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the borough’s most vulnerable residents and emergence of hotspot areas”.

“This new PSPO will support our partnership work with the police to tackle antisocial behaviour, and I’m pleased that it has the support of residents and businesses,” Perry claimed.

After a year in office, Perry said, “As Mayor I want to restore pride in our town centre and kickstart its regeneration, and making our streets clean, safe and welcoming is an important first step in achieving both.”

Read more: ‘Anarchy in Croydon’ fears as Mayor axes 22 safety officer jobs
Read more: Croydon put in special measures: ‘Worst of all possible worlds’
Read more: Here’s the Mayor and 33 Croydon Tory councillors who THREE times voted in favour of hitting you with a 15% Council Tax hike


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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6 Responses to Perry’s new PSPO zone is ‘just window-dressing’ say critics

  1. Peter Howard says:

    I,v not seenuniform police in and around market area.

  2. Paul Ford says:

    You can create as many laws as you like, but without enforcement, it’s all completely pointless…

  3. Hazel swain says:

    useless for those roads in the south on the borders …..street drinkers etc just step into the next road … like mine.. and make a nuisance of themselves there. Residents of my road are sick of cleaning up cans, bottles of human urine, drug paraphernalia and piles of gas canisters .. to name a few things ….. I feel for our lovely street sweeper who has had to clear up what these people leave .

  4. gary kemp says:

    PSPO orders are just a fake enforcement, we had one set up in Caterham where kids were being robbed on a train-bridge after school, not a single police officer was ever seen. The robberies continued obviously.

  5. gary kemp says:

    Its worth noting that there are many registered mentally ill and violent left to roam croydon, surrey street being very popular area for them. I was threatened with a knife in broad daylight in a busy surrey street market on second day of working in croydon. I stopped going there to get lunch straight away. When i spoke to cafe owners of a workspace we were using over the road they said it happens all the time, most businesses like estate agents etc have to lock their doors during the day to stop randoms walking in and threatening them. Then only a week later there was an incident in the very cafe I’ve mentioned. I avoid central croydon when possible now…its a completely dangerous lawless area.

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