The Borough Commander gave a report on current policing issues.
He stated that the momentum had been maintained on MOPAC 7 during the MOPAC Challenge period, which had come to an end on 31 March. The target had been to reduce the number of MOPAC 7 offences by 20%. The Borough Commander was pleased to announce that Croydon had exceeded the target, achieving a reduction of 23.8% over three years, resulting in a 4,000 fall in the number of victims in the borough.
SNB members asked further questions on theft. The Borough Commander announced that 4000 MetTrace Smartwater kits had been installed by the police and that signs had been posted widely to raise awareness of this to deter theft. He also highlighted the danger of leaving car or door keys in sight near the front door as thieves had developed effective techniques for "fishing" keys from locations in entrance halls.
Fear of crime, on the other hand, remained an issue. To this end, the Borough Commander reminded the SNB membership of the quiz being used to challenge residents' perceptions of crime rates. For instance, to counter wild guesses given on the numbers of muggings and burglaries in Croydon, the quiz informed that that there were approximately 4 muggings a day and 0.8 robberies per day. Social media such as Twitter and the press were also being used to highlight such messages and bolster public confidence in the police. Both muggings and burglaries were usually reported to the police, thus providing reliable figures, unlike crimes such as Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence, or hate crime, which were still under-reported by victims.
The Borough Commander stated that hate crime was on the increase. This partly due to a degree of growing confidence on the part of victims. He also highlighted the possibility of reporting hate crimes on third party sites. It was suggested that some of the reports of xenophobic outbursts during presidential electoral campaigns in the United States might have encouraged hate crime on this side of the ocean.
SNB members heard that Croydon had one of the largest community safety units in London, and that officers had received extra training to tackle hate crime in the borough. The body-worn cameras being trialled in the borough would also provide data on the quality of police response to such incidents.
The 20 April event on hate crime, organised by the SNB and Faiths Together in Croydon, was mentioned. SNB members were reminded that hate crime could be reported in a variety of ways and were given a hand-out providing contact details for reporting hate crime, including the following:
- anonymous reports through www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by ringing them on 0800 555111
- through the www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime website, which also offers advice on how to protect oneself against hate crime.
- in an emergency, by ringing 999 or 112
The incidence of gun crime was discussed. SNB members were informed that this was on the rise in London and that Operation Viper was dealing with this worrying trend. In Croydon, however, this type of crime was very rare. Significant resources were dedicated to any case of gun crime in the borough, such as the recent incident in Thornton Heath, which had led to an arrest.
The Borough Commander was questioned on the fatal stabbing which had taken place in Thornton Heath in March. He announced that a person had been charged with this murder the day before this meeting and that the offence had led to a police operation resulting in the arrest of 90 people. SNB members were advised that very good feedback had been received on the increased police visibility from local businesses.
The Borough Commander was questioned on cybercrime. He stated that the vast majority of offences are fraud., with an estimated cost of between £20 and £40 billion to the country. He added that in most cases, banks were prepared to compensate victims of cyberfraud and that such offences were not translated into crime reports, hence the lack of data on this type of offence.
The Borough Commander highlighted the work of Operation Falcon, a dedicated Police team working to reduce the harm caused by fraud and cyber criminals in London. It works in partnership with businesses to improve the police response to fraud and cybercrime affecting London's businesses and undertakes targeted prevention work with industry partners that designs out crime, tackles the enablers of cybercrime & fraud and raises awareness within the public and businesses. The work of Action Fraud was also mentioned. This agency is the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre. Its website provides information on current scams and provides the opportunity to report cases of cybercrime. The website also highlights the following telephone number for reporting cases of cyberfraud: 0300 123 2040.
The Borough Commander was thanked for his report and answers to SNB members' questions.