Thornton Heath has some of the worst hot spots in the borough for anti social behaviour.
Officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) have been patrolling Thornton Heath focussing on possession of drugs and weapons but also providing a visible deterrent.
During one stop and search in the last week The Chronicle witnessed officers outside Tesco searching a suspect who had been loitering around the Clocktower for drugs (pictured). In neighbouring Broad Green they arrested two men for intent to supply class A Crack Cocaine and according to data visualisation website Plumplot drug crime in Croydon has rocketed by 48.1 per cent in the past year.
The TSG units are providing much needed manpower to bolster the depleted Safer Neighbourhood Teams in all three wards.
The Thornton Heath ward celebrated last year getting an extra officer but the number is now back to two PCs for the foreseeable future and a PCSO with the third PC on restricted duties and shortly to go on maternity leave. Bensham Manor currently has just one PC and a PCSO while West Thornton’s two PCs are shortly moving on. A new sergeant has been appointed to oversee all three wards.
Three of the 20 worst hot spots for anti social behaviour in Croydon are in the CR7 post postcode with Thornton Heath High Street experiencing: 52 incidences, Brigstock Road 37 and The Pond 48 in 2019 compared with 122 in Croydon shopping centre. Anti-social behaviour covers street drinking, nuisance neighbours, begging and prostitution.
Last month The Chronicle reported that there had been a meeting to discuss the effectiveness of the Public Space Protection Order around the Clocktower and High Street because of the lack of available resources to tackle ASB but the decision was made to keep it in place.
While residents are encouraged to report unfortunately few criminals ever end up in court. A recent report and that a suspect was charged in just 7.8 per cent of crimes in England and Wales in the year to March 2019.
In the Thornton Heath ward of 2,194 offences only 42 offenders so 2.42 per cent were sent to court and of those four received prison sentences (0.23 per cent).
At the December ward panel meeting the Safer Neighbourhood Team officers revealed they were overwhelmed with dealing with mental health issues which takes up 70 per cent of their time. When they get to the addresses where there is an incident social services and doctors have to be involved and if taken to hospital by ambulance the police either have to accompany the patient or follow in a car. They have had one case where there was no bed for someone and had to travel to Newham for the nearest hospital.
The revelations fit with a recent data, compiled by think-tank Parliament Street, which shows that the number of calls attended by police has risen by 20 per cent since 2016. The Metropolitan police attended the highest number of mental health calls last year, at 39,584,
Between the start of January and end of December, a total of 1,079 people reported being a victim of robbery with robberies committed in Fairfield, Broad Green and Thornton Heath higher than anywhere else in the borough. Waddon and Thornton Heath both had 76 robberies; West Thornton 67 people reported being a victim of a robbery and Bensham Manor 35.