Croydon Police Chief praises the role of charities in tackling violent crime

A Metropolitan police chief has praised the role of charity organisations across Croydon for their work in reducing crime in the borough.

Chief Inspector Imran Asghat spoke at a New Met for London event that aims to build links between local police chiefs and residents.

His comments come in the wake of high-profile incidents of violence, including the tragic murder of schoolgirl Elianne Andam.

Asghat said: “We had significant issues with young people causing anti-social behaviour and crime in areas such as Church Street and George Street.

“Is policing the right tactic and tool to deal with them?

“I would say no.”

Asghat credits the directing of funding to outreach organisations for a reduction in crime in prominent hotspots due to their ability to relate to and talk to those at risk of offending.

His remarks come in the wake of the local authority being awarded a £165,000 to tackle violent crime and anti-social behaviour, as part of the Home Office’s ‘Safer Streets’ initiative.

Whilst detailed plans are yet to be announced as to how the money will be disseminated, Asghat confirmed that talks are ongoing amongst key stakeholders.

Borough Superintendent Mitch Carr said: “We deal with a lot of charitable organisations who could do a lot more.

“There is always a need for additional funding, and this is an area where government grants can make a difference.”

The New Met for London events are a capital-wide effort, instigated by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, to help restore confidence in the force in the wake of well publicised cases of misconduct.

The event, the fourth held in the borough, presents an opportunity for local constables, senior leadership, councillors, and residents to discuss their main concerns and feedback issues and success.

One such success, has been the targeting of robberies committed against teenagers for mobile phones and expensive jackets, after a spate of 50 incidents across the south of the borough.

Inspector Andy Smith said: “We want our young people to feel safe when travelling to and from school and certainly in the last part of 2023 they didn’t.”

Smith explained that an operation was launched at the beginning of January to coincide with the return of children back to school to target robberies against teenagers.

The operation saw police resources concentrated in Purley, a hotspot for such crimes, combined with in-school education on the importance of personal security.

The operation has led to a drastic fall in offences, with none reported within the area in the weeks since.

Croydon, like many other London boroughs, has had well publicised issues with violent offences, most notably knife crime.

A parliamentary report shows that incidents for the year 22/23 increased by 25% when compared to the previous year.

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