The report from the Croydon Local Independent Review Panel has just been published (Tuesday 28th February). Click here to access a copy from the Croydon Online website.
Some of the findings have already been said before or known for a while (something which the report acknowledges). In connection with London Road and West/North West Croydon it says:
“The issue of protectionism was raised with regard to shops on London Road by a number of people who met with the Panel. This issue was also raised with the Metropolitan Police Service and there was an acknowledgement that this was happening. The Panel heard of specific efforts made by Croydon Police to tackle this issue and difficulties that had been encountered when doing so.
“Other longstanding issues of crime and disorder were repeatedly raised to the Panel regarding North West Croydon, including drug and alcohol crime, gang crime including gangs based on ethnicity, street crime and fear of reporting crime and reprisals.
“The Panel is aware that both the Police and other agencies are already familiar with these issues and indeed heard of efforts that had been made to tackle some of them.”
When it comes to its effect or influence, though, will it have teeth? There are 24 recommendations, covering a wide range of issues. However, most of the recommendations are for the authorities (the Council, the Metropolitan Police, community organisations etc) to ‘give consideration’ to implementing changes and improvements, or ‘be encouraged’ to work with others – for example:
~ Recommendation 19
That the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust be encouraged to work with other agencies and the local community to bring the vacant Croydon General Hospital site back into use as soon as possible.
The dead space of the old General Hospital site has been an ongoing blight on London Road for many years, but with suggested schemes and land use coming to nothing, more than ‘encouragement’ is likely to be needed….
~ Recommendation 21
That the Metropolitan Police Service gives consideration as to how a more visible policing presence can be provided in the North West Croydon area including London Road.
That considering process has been going on for a while with few effective solutions. Traders still complain about the low-level but regular aggressive pilfering which goes on from their shops.
The report gives a somewhat stronger recommendation regarding the issue of trust between the police and young people:
~ Recommendation 24
That the Metropolitan Police Service prioritises the rebuilding of trust and understanding between itself and young people and young adults in Croydon.
Three of the report’s recommendations specifically call for action:
~ Recommendation 4
That the Government reform the processes by which payments are currently made under the Riot Damages Act in order to achieve quicker payments for persons claiming under that Act.
~ Recommendation 5
That the local Community Safety Partnership undertakes detailed analysis of the profiles of persons convicted of rioting in Croydon to provide further understanding of who rioted in Croydon and why.
~ Recommendation 9
That the Council’s policy of promoting internal shop shutters be implemented.
Let’s hope that London Road does benefit from all this in the future, anyway – somehow…