Thornton Heath’s abandoned police station has become the latest destination for street drinkers to take a nap as local officers have to resort to appealing for help sponsoring a car so they can get to and from Croydon.
This picture taken in the afternoon last week shows a man worse for wear in the doorway of the empty Safer Neighbourhood Police office on Parchmore Road which the Met is leasing at a market rent of £60,000 per year until 2012.
The well known street drinker had apparently been issued with a Community Protection Order banning him from begging outside Tesco but was back outside the supermarket on Wednesday shirtless and begging.
Subsequent to this report the same man was witnessed using the pavement outside the police station as a toilet.
He was also witnessed urinating against the door of the historic Clock Tower at 11am on Wednesday and appears to have a complete disregard for the law.
Meanwhile local police have had to relocate to Windmill Road police station and no longer have access to a car to get to and from their local beat.
The Bensham Manor and Thornton Heath Safer Neighbourhood Teams moved there from their base at Gipsy Hill following the news that the station on Parchmore Road would remain closed. It has already sat empty since 2013. It only opened as a police station in 2010.
Despite repeated complaints action to tackle persistent begging and street drinking particularly outside Tesco continues unabated. Many of the regular beggars are not homeless and are using the money to buy drink and drugs.
The police say they don’t have the resources and that it takes time to get ‘impact statements’ in order to get Criminal Behaviour Orders for anti social behaviour. It’s unclear why they don’t just use their existing powers. Begging is an arrestable offence and drinking is prohibited in designated No Drinking zones.
Residents say there is huge issue with the council and police not taking responsibility for anti social behaviour and then it ending up in ‘no mans land’.
Last month the Thornton Heath ward panel meeting was told the Safer Neighbourhood Team would no longer have access to a police vehicle. Local officers have been told that if companies are willing, the Met would accept sponsored vehicles.
Many police forces faced with budget cuts have had to go down this route.
Recently Merseyside police secured corporate sponsorship deals to ensure the future of mounted police section including £50,000 from premiership football club Everton.
In 2018 there were 1,660 crimes in the Thornton Heath ward which works out at 118.7 crimes per 1,000 of the population from December 2017 to November 2018.
It shows a higher number of reported crimes per 1,000 of the population compared with elsewhere in Croydon and England only second to Fairfield and South Croydon wards.New Addington and Croydon Central wards were given extra police officers funded jointly by the council and police.
The main concentration for Thornton Heath police is theft of valuables from motor vehicles which they reported was “through the roof”.