Around 80 representatives from 13 different public and private sector organisations will be out in force across the town centre from Monday, September 4th until Friday, September 8th in an effort to reduce the fear of crime and reassure youngsters and the general public that Croydon town centre is a safe place to be.
By providing a high-visibility presence, the intention also is to reduce street robbery and deter would-be offenders, while helping to increase feelings of safety among pupils, many of whom may be travelling on their own through the town centre for the first time.
The multi-agency initiative is being delivered in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and Croydon Council. It also involves representatives from the British Transport Police, Tram Neighbourhood Officers, Neighbourhood Safety Officers, security teams from Centrale and Whitgift Shopping centres, Croydon Council’s Youth Engagement Team, Croydon Drop In, Victim Support, Croydon Street Pastors and other community groups.
As part of the exercise, specific focus is being placed upon highlighting the wide range of projects and activities available within Croydon for youngsters to get involved with as well as the help and advice they can access via various support services, covering issues such sexual health and youth counselling.
Commenting on the initiative, Metropolitan Police Inspector Martin Roche said:
“Our overall aim is to make sure that everyone feels safe and has a sense of well-being when using the town centre and this back to school initiative is targeted in particular at assisting the many young students who may be making the commute home from school for the first time during the first week in September.”
Shaun Webster, head of operations at the Croydon Business Improvement District which funds the work of the CBCP added: “The start of a new school term is a major landmark for the majority of schoolchildren and we’re delighted that so many agencies have felt able to support this year’s initiative in the drive to improve everyone’s experience and impressions of our town centre”.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice said: “The council wants everyone to feel safe and we welcome this initiative as a good way to support young people starting a new school for the first time, and those returning after the summer break. We want to encourage young people, and the public to enjoy our town centre.”