City Hall has finally admitted which five police bases in Croydon are to close. Fifteen bases will close across London but five of those closures are targeted on Croydon. The decision will leave Croydon with just one police base per 40,000 people – 14% worse than the London average. With fewer bases, it could take officers longer to respond to incidents.
The closures are supported by the Tory Mayor of London and by Croydon’s current Tory London Assembly Member, Steve O’Connell. The worrying news comes on top of the loss of 4 out of every 5 Police Community Support Officer in Croydon since 2010, a far higher reduction than other boroughs have suffered.
The bases marked out for closure are: Addington Road (Selsdon), Lower Addiscombe Road (Addiscombe), Redlands Centre (Coulsdon), Wickham Road (Shirley) and Central Hill (Upper Norwood).
Two of the closures are in Croydon South whose MP Chris Philp led campaigns against similar closures in Camden but has not campaigned against the closures in his own constituency. Two others are in Croydon Central whose Tory MP, Gavin Barwell, has remained silent on the issue –perhaps unsurprisingly since he hasn’t mentioned Croydon at all in Parliament for over two years.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed is actively campaigning against the closures. On 11 April he challenged Home Secretary Theresa May about the issue in Parliament. She refused his request for an urgent meeting to discuss residents’ concerns about the impact on crime.
Labour’s London Assembly candidate for Croydon, Marina Ahmad, said:
“Violent crime and domestic violence are still on the rise in Croydon. This is no time to target our borough with police cuts and closures way above the London average. All we’re asking is for Croydon to be treated fairly. While our Tory MPs and Assembly Member have gone along with these damaging proposals, I will take the fight to save them to City Hall if I’m elected next week.”