Time out with the Chief Executive – March 2023

Safety is a right not a privilege. We should all feel safe, whether at home, at work, or in our towns and city centres.
In the true light of day, it is clear that we have a long way to go in achieving this goal, and that the challenge is complex, ongoing, and will require a collective effort.

This week, the government unveiled its action plan to crack down on antisocial behaviour.

Antisocial behaviour is defined as ‘behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person’ (Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 ad Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act).

In Croydon, business related crime is a source of concern for many of our members. Over the course of the past year, there have been 1,671 thefts from shops reported to the Metropolitan Police with an average of 140 per month and a peak in January 2023. When reviewing violence against a person, Croydon reported 3,377 incidents with an average of 281 incidents per month and a peak in September 2022. Clearly a snapshot which does not paint the full picture. Nor does it illustrate the efforts of the Metropolitan Police, partners, stakeholders, and community leaders as we look to make real, visible improvements.

Our teams are working hard with the Metropolitan Police and our partners to address some of the concerns and issues that many of you are experiencing in your business.

Collective intelligence sharing throughout Croydon town centre is critical, from you as businesses to our partners and on-street teams. In order to achieve the efficient flow of information from point a to point b, you need to have the appropriate tools. Our review and upgrade of the Croydon BID Radio Link allows for the introduction of a much-improved method of sharing intelligence.

The new Croydon BID Radio Link is now completely under our control, and we have switched from an analogue to a digital system to improve connectivity and signal strength. Businesses can now purchase the radio system for £150 per year*. Our teams are working hard to ensure strong coverage and use of the scheme to improve intelligence and communication with our teams, with the help of our partners.

The relaunch of the Croydon Business Crime Reduction Partnership allows our members to engage and discuss concerns and issues with the Metropolitan Police, partners, and fellow businesses as we work together to solve some of the issues of the day. And, with a free membership for Croydon BID members, all I can say is that signing up adds further value to your business as we look to improve safety matters.

Of the Government’s plan to tackle antisocial behaviour, I am pleased to see the announcement of investment into youth centres as part of the youth investment fund. Fundamentally what is important is that Croydon receives additional investment to support what is the largest borough by youth population in London. While investment into existing facilities is always welcome, investment into new youth centres to offer something for our young people to do outside of school is equally important if we are to offer a safe space for our children.

As with most plans, the pledge is welcome. What is more important is the need to see it through, to invest and support in towns and cities like Croydon to deliver for our people. Action speaks far louder than words and we very much need it now.