Shirley North Ward – Operation Zoedone

South Area Basic Command Unit (BCU) officers target mobile phone robbers across Croydon and Sutton

A South Area BCU operation from 8 to 14 January, targeting offenders along the Purley and Wallington border of Sutton and Croydon, has resulted in 11 arrests in the robbery of mobile phones belonging to school students, zero reporting of further such offences in the area since the operation, and positive feedback from internal and external partners and the local community.

The operation was in response to an increase in mobile phone robberies since October 2023, where offenders particularly targeted students who travelled by bus to and from school.

Police became aware of the phone robberies not only from monitoring crime reports but also from listening to the local communities who had voiced their concerns and supplied invaluable information about the offences.

Using precision-based intelligence, officers researched historical robberies in the relevant wards and produced a detailed crime picture. They identified that the offences took place at about school travel times and in and around bus stops in the locations of Purley and Woodcote, Purley Oaks, South Wallington, South Beddington, and Roundshaw.

Intelligence also showed that offenders typically were males between 14 and 17 years of age, operating in teams of two to three members, wearing Balaclavas and surgical facemasks to hide their faces.

Officers also knew that some offenders used public transport to travel to and from robberies. The Safer Transport Team officers were able to provide specialist knowledge about bus-enabled crime. The operation was put into practice to coincide with students returning school after Christmas, as they would be likely to be in possession of new and desirable phones.

Croydon and Sutton Safer Neighbourhood Teams and South Area Safer Transport Team, joined forces under Operation Zoedone to tackle this crime.

The week of action was supported by Schools officers, Mounted Branch, Territorial Support Group, and the Dog Support Unit. Officers and policing resources were deployed around schools, town centres and transport hubs to deter and disrupt organised mobile phone robbers targeting students for their mobile phones.

Uniformed officers were supported by plain-clothes officers across the tasking area, and the South Area Robbery team were deployed to assist with any live robbery incidents.

Four males working together who robbed pupils of their phones on two occasions, were tracked on CCTV, caught and arrested; two other males were caught trying to hide from police and were found in possession of stolen mobile phone paraphernalia and arrested; and five males were identified and arrested due to extensive secondary investigation for previously reported offences.

Prolific offenders were served community protection notices to deter them from future offending.

Officers were deployed to hotspot areas and targeted several known suspects and cleared the area of further robberies through persistent high vis-patrolling of the hotspot robbery areas. Schools officers attended school assemblies to provide crime prevention advice, while uniformed officers spoke to students on how to keep themselves and their possessions safe.

South Area BCU will continue Operation Zoedone to deter and disrupt crime in the area through Community protection Warnings and enforcement and intervention when needed by the local Safer Neighbourhood and School officers.

Croydon Library Consultation – Proposed Closure of 4 Libraries

Croydon Council is proposing to consult residents on changes to its library service that will make it easier for more people across the borough to enjoy books and activities. Proposals include longer opening hours including weekends, improved facilities in fewer library buildings, and more staff to provide a new outreach service.

A report to the council’s cabinet meeting next week details extensive research into the borough’s library service, following service reductions made since the council’s financial collapse in April 2020. The report can be found on the council website.

Since the changes were introduced, the council has been listening to residents and staff who have said that despite best efforts, the service model isn’t working – that it doesn’t provide the opening hours needed or enough of the services that residents want and need.

The cabinet report sets out the detailed research findings and proposed recommendations for a more sustainable library service. It proposes longer opening hours including weekends, with more events and services available to residents, by reducing the number of buildings and investing in well-used sites. No job losses are proposed, with the council intending to use the majority of the money saved from building costs to increase the number of library staff to provide the extended opening and outreach services. Cabinet will be asked for approval to start consultation on the proposals.

To make these improvements, four library buildings; Bradmore Green, Broad Green, Sanderstead, and Shirley are proposed to be closed. This proposal is based on analysis of the buildings including visitor numbers, size and condition of the buildings, the size and needs of the communities they serve and running costs.

Six libraries (Central, Ashburton, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Selsdon and Coulsdon) are proposed to be open five to six days a week, including Saturdays, and will deliver an extensive offer of books, wifi, PCs, study spaces and events. These libraries have all proved to be well-used, accessible buildings that meet local needs. Future investment in these sites is recommended to improve the facilities and extend the opening times and services available.

Activist’s research found three areas — New Addington, Purley and South Norwood — need library services, but low visitor numbers suggest the current set-up isn’t working. The council is proposing to introduce community hubs in these areas, where a library would be available alongside other services such as family and adult education services and community partnerships.

Through the consultation, residents will be asked for their views and ideas for developing the offer in New Addington, Purley and South Norwood to help design how library services can be improved in these areas, to make them more accessible and better used by local people.

Other library services – such as the home library service and the extensive digital offer, including e-books and magazines, online learning and training resources – are set to continue and be improved as part of the future service.

A 10-week consultation is set to launch after cabinet and residents are encouraged to have their say on the proposals and share their ideas for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the library service. Details will be available from Croydon libraries and on the council’s Get Involved website.

The council is keen to hear the views of those affected by the proposed library closures, including any impacts and alternative options to closing buildings and improving the service for residents. The consultation will also ask for ideas for future library outreach services and community venues that could be used to reach more people. Feedback received will help the council develop further recommendations which will go back to cabinet in May 2024.

Power for People – A Good Year

This year our Community Energy Revolution campaign made excellent progress, thanks to the many who helped at key moments. As we look forward to next year, here is what we achieved in 2023:

1. Thousands of you wrote to your MPs…

If you were one of the many who got in touch with their MP, a massive thank you. It kept the momentum up in Parliament and in constituencies

2. …and we helped many of you respond to their emails.

MPs’ emails can be long and highly technical. We helped you respond to and, when necessary, refute their points. This often shifted an MP’s stance, helped bring many new MPs on board and kept supportive MPs engaged.

3. A majority of MPs in the House of Commons now back new community energy enabling measures.

Our collective efforts have led to this impressive milestone. 326 MPs from all major parties now publicly support the Local Electricity Bill: our proposed law that would empower community energy groups to sell their clean power directly to local people.

4. We won two legislative votes in the House of Lords…

On two separate occasions, we beat the Government whip to see our proposals to help community energy projects included in Government legislation. These victories helped secure new supportive measures from Government.

5. …and got community energy to the top of the agenda at several debates in Parliament.

At several debates this year on energy legislation, community energy was the most featured topic. Given the sector’s current size, this is an outstanding achievement and demonstrates the strength of our collective power.

6. We secured a new £10 million fund for community projects across England…

Our collective advocacy for community energy led to the Government introducing the first new fund to help community energy projects in over six years.

7. ….and we got the Government to promise a consultation on removing the barriers blocking community energy sector growth.

This is a new avenue to achieve reforms to help community energy thrive. When the consultation opens, we will be asking everyone to submit responses to ensure that we can make the most of this excellent opportunity. Again, we will be here to help.

8. Government Ministers are responding more favourably.

This year saw a shift in how the Government treats community energy. For many years they have declined to take action to help create growth in local renewable energy generation. Now, community energy is a subject they are ever more questioned and challenged on in Parliament and they have started to act to empower it.

All the above is testament to our determined collective persistence. We can carry this momentum into the new year as we continue the push for reforms to enable community energy to thrive.

Thank you for making this a good year and I wish you a happy and restful festive break.

Rupert Meadows

Find out more at the Power for People website.

Christmas and New Year Waste and Recycling Collections 2023/2024

Waste and recycling (including clinical waste) collections will change during the weeks beginning 25 December 2023, 1 January 2024 and 8 January 2024. Collections will be up to 4 days later than usual.

Collections will return to normal from Monday 15 January 2024. Please remember to put your bins out by 6am on your collection day.

You can check your collection dates on the Croydon Council website here.

Croydon Council will be collecting your unwanted real Christmas trees from Monday 8 January 2023. Click here for more information.

Click here for the 2023/2024 Christmas Recycling Newsletter (PDF, 5.33MB)