Meeting documents

Safer Neighbourhood Board
Wednesday, 15th March, 2017

Safer Neighbourhood Board Minutes

Wednesday 15th March 2017
The Community Space, Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA

Attendance Details


Marion Burchell (Chair) IAG
David Palmer Aurora LGBT Police Consultative Group
Councillor Hamida Ali Croydon Council
Councillor Steve O’Connell Croydon Council and GLA
Councillor David Wood Croydon Council
Marzia Nicodemi Croydon Community Stop and Search Monitoring Group
Jay Patel ARCC
Tina Salter North Neighbourhood Panel
Jean Pikett Croydon Disability Forum
Brian Udell Neighbourhood Watch
Andi Opie Director of Safety
Chief Inspector Mike Spies Croydon Police
Ilona Kytomaa SNB administrator

Also in attendance: Cllr Joy Prince, Cllr Bernadette Khan, Kai Pokawa, Janet Stollery, Bosco Saldanha, Elizabeth Ash, Anne Giles, Robert Ward, Bushra Ahmed

Councillor H Ali, Councillor S O'Connell, Councillor D Wood
Chf Supt Jeff Boothe, Supt Des Connors, and Yvonne Traynor (RASASC).
Apologies for absence:
Apologies were given by Chf Supt Jeff Boothe and Supt Des Connors, and by Yvonne Traynor (RASASC).

Item Item/Resolution

The Chair welcomed all present.


Apologies were given by Chf Supt Jeff Boothe and Supt Des Connors, and by Yvonne Traynor (RASASC).


The minutes were approved by all present with the following amendments:
- Marzia Nicodemi had presented her apologies for the previous meeting
- Elizabeth Ash had indicated that she would not be able to attend the 18 January meeting


A presentation on work being carried out to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) was given by Andy Opie, the council's Director of Safety.


He explained that the term "ASB" covered a wide range of behaviours and added that rowdy inconsiderate behaviour and neighbourhood nuisance were two of the most prominent forms of ASB. He was pleased to report that reports of ASB had gone down by 25% in the last 12 months and that effective partnership work had been a critical root of this success.


SNB members were advised that the first step in resolving ASB was usually to request that the individual concerned complete diary sheets regarding the nuisance concerned to provide officers with good evidence.


Equipped with this information, officers then use a wide variety of "tools" to tackle the behaviour, ranging from Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with low level ASB to Criminal Behaviour Orders or custodial sentences. The Director of Safety explained that Criminal Behaviour Orders replaced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) about two years ago.


SNB members were given an overview of action taken to tackle "cruising" on Imperial Way. They heard that an injunction had been obtained after the death of a young man and that various traffic calming measures had been put in place, leading to a cessation of this behaviour.


Other action taken across the borough as a result of serious ASB has included the following:
- 5 Premises Closure Orders to prevent persistent and ongoing ASB, including an order on commercial premises where drugs were being sold from
- 4 injunctions with exclusion zones
- 4 evictions from council homes and 3 suspended possession orders

The Director of Safety explained that Community Protection Notices had constituted an important tool in the council's work to tackle ASB such as street drinking, untidy front gardens, etc. Perpetrators nearly always take the appropriate action in response and only rarely does the council have to follow up these notices with a formal notice.


The Director of Safety outlined action taken to tackle moped-related ASB. These vehicles have been used this year to commit a number of burglaries or to ride in an antisocial way. In a number of cases, the mopeds have been burnt after an offence has been committed.


A multi-agency group has been formed to find effective solutions to address moped related crime. It is developing prevention and diversion work which will include working on a moped crime prevention scheme, and has identified the main perpetrators.


However, the Director of Safety admitted that these offences were difficult to tackle and encouraged the community to report any intelligence to help officers to take action and bring these behaviours to an end. It was reported at the meeting that individuals were also committing a nuisance on push bikes.


The director of safety was questioned regarding the 25 % decrease in reports of ASB. In answer to a question, SNB members were advised that all reports to the "101" telephone numbers were included in crime statistics. The Director of Safety was asked why this reduction had come about and explained that it was probably due to increasingly effective partnership work, use of intelligence and improving strategies. As a result, there has also been a reduction in the multiple reporting of ASB events.


It was suggested that businesses should use electric mopeds to deliver take-away food to customers as these are cheaper and far less noisy, making them less suitable for noise nuisance.

SNB members were given an overview of action being taken to tackle fly-tipping. He explained that 1500-1800 fly tips per month were confirmed by contractors and that hot spots for flytipping were concentrated around Selhurst, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and Norbury. About 85% are successfully cleared within 48 hours. The Director of Safety explained that speed was of the essence as "rubbish breeds rubbish".


The Director of Safety explained that a large number of visits were carried out to local businesses to ensure that they have a trade waste contract and used the right type of containers for their waste. In addition, Time Banded Waste Collections (TBWCs) have been introduced on Thornton Heath High Street. London Road and Portland Road to keep rubbish out of the way except during these time bands. As a result, the amount of rubbish dumped outside shopfronts has been cut by over 70 tonnes. It is planned to roll out this service to 25 more locations, starting with the areas suffering from most littering and flytipping. The Director of Safety conceded that this practice was resource-intensive but that it had led to significant improvements.

More Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued than ever before for fly tipping and other environment offences being issued than ever before and £400 penalties were introduced last year for particularly serious incidences. In addition, the council has had success with a significant number of prosecutions, two of which led to jail sentences. A particularly effective form of action has been the confiscation of vehicles involved in fly-tipping followed in many cases by the crushing of the vehicle, when the driver has not come forward with the paperwork to prove ownership and recover their vehicle. This is a swifter process than prosecution and as a result, a number of perpetrators are no longer able to flytip.


The Director of Safety highlighted the borough's Street Champion scheme, where local residents can get involved in keeping their neighbourhood tidy and bringing about improvements such as planting schemes.


The Director of Safety was challenged to explain why Croydon had not provided statistics on flytipping to DEFRA. He explained that this was due to the fact that ΒΌ of reports were described as "other", which had led DEFRA to decide not to publish the data. He gave assurances that this matter was being dealt with and that improved data would be provided to DEFRA.


The Director of Safety was questioned regarding dumping on private land. He explained that this was usually dealt with by issuing a "Community Protection Order" on the grounds that such waste was "detrimental to local amenity". He added that addressing rubbish in back gardens was more challenging but that this could be tackled if the council received persistent complaints, if this brought about a fire risk or attracted vermin.


It was remarked that evidence of dumping that could help identify the perpetrator might disappear if the contractor removed the litter before the litter was investigated. The Director of Safety explained that the council's dedicated enforcement team worked very well with the contractors Veolia. He added that the new 2018 contract will require the contractor to obtain this evidence and report it to the council.


The Director of Safety was thanked for his presentation.


Chief Inspector Mike Spies introduced himself. He explained that he had been working in Croydon for two and half years and was due to replace Duncan McMillan in two weeks' time. He gave an overview of his past work in operational policing, which includes 8 years working in Brixton.


SNB members were given an overview of key current challenges for the police:


Policing in the town centre
This represents a significant challenge for the police. In particular, youth violence has been on the increase and led on 4 February this year to the stabbing of a 14 year old in the neck. Prompt action by the emergency services helped ensure that he survived. Since then, the police have been involved in various operations and put in extra resources including mounted police.


Chief Inspector Mike Spies remarked that there were less and less people carrying weapons nowadays, with offenders preferring to leave them hidden under shrubs, in bins, etc. As a result, 160 council staff who are more likely to come across such weapons have been trained to handle them appropriately so that they can be produced as forensic evidence. He also commented that street champions could be trained to handle such finds appropriately and hand them to the police.


The police has also been involved in prevention work with Croydon's Business Improvement District to encourage young offenders into education, employment or training.


Chief Inspector Mike Spies reported a 1.8% increase in burglaries in the last 12 months after a 41% decrease in previous years as a result of introducing smartwater kits on a large scale two years ago.


SNB members heard that there had been a 77% increase year on year, linked to moped crime. Chief Inspector Mike Spies remarked that many perpetrators know their estates far better than police, making it difficult to catch them.


Other offences
Chief Inspector Spies reported a steep increase in knife crime, significant numbers of missing people and continuing high levels of Domestic Abuse. However, hate crime has now largely stabilised.


The SNB discussed approaches to engaging young people and diverting them from criminal activity. It was observed that an informal approach and a personal story of overcoming adversity tended to have a particularly strong impact. The work carried out by Cliff Hilderly on gangs was highlighted as an example of good practice. SNB members commented that Cliff Hilderly, who had given a presentation on this work to the Board, had spoken of creating a "Community Voice" and requested an update on this initiative. SNB members also mentioned the effectiveness of the "Impact Factor" initiative carried out by the Fire Brigade with young people.

Chief Inspector Mike Spies stated that the borough had a dedicated school police team of 12 officers, who work with schools in a non-confrontational manner to generate trust and good partnership work. The SNB chair pointed to police work with a reception class in New Addington, ending in a much enjoyed football match.


The Board discussed the incidence of hate crime. Chief Inspector Mike Spies stated that the police now had a dedicated hate crime officer who was working with various local communities to foster trust and encourage the reporting of such incidents. SNB members highlighted the particular vulnerability of women from a number of ethnic minorities who wore distinctive clothing and were regular victims of verbal and other abuse. The GLA representative announced that MOPAC had set aside new funding to reach out and provide support to vulnerable communities.


SNB members discussed Croydon's night-time economy. Chief Inspector Mike Spies stated that a great deal of partnership work was taking place to keep the town safe at night-time and that the Croydon Business Improvement District was particularly heavily involved in this work.


The ARCC representative highlighted the fact that Crawley had introduced a "shopwatch" initiative encouraging small shops selling alcohol in the evening to work together to reduce the likelihood of drunkenness and resulting antisocial behaviour and crime. This is akin to the "Pubwatch" initiative already in place in Croydon. He announced that he planned to introduce a similar scheme in Croydon.


Crime on public transport was also discussed. When reporting such incidents, Chief Inspector Mike Spies urged all to quote bus route numbers and registration numbers so that they could be followed up more effectively.


The Chair highlighted the lack of involvement of Neighbourhood Panels with ward panels and the SNB, and announced that work would be carried out on this issue in the new municipal year.


The Chair announced that a new round of bids for SNB funded projects was due to start.


It was suggested that a bid be put in to leaflet various parts of Croydon regarding the trend of cat murders and the contact number to ring regarding such incidents. The GLA representative commented that such an initiative might not fit in with MOPAC criteria but suggested that some funding for this initiative might be obtained through Community Ward Budgets after April. The leaflet to be distributed states that anyone who finds any mutilated bodies of cats, they should contact the South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty association (SNARL) on 07961 030064 or 07957 830 490.


The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 14 June 2017 in the Council Chamber

The meeting ended at 8pm.