Croydon Council has secured £165,000 of funding to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
In a timely boost to the Croydon Mayor, who has been criticised in recent weeks due to high-profile incidents, the funding will seek to reduce personal robberies, knife crime and violence with a focus on intervention for girls.
The funding is part of the Safer Streets Scheme, a government initiative introduced in 2022 by the then Home Secretary Priti Patel, pledging to commit £50million of funding to projects across the country.
Speaking after the announcement, Mayor Jason Perry, who centred his 2022 election campaign on reducing crime said: “I promised to listen to residents and to work to make Croydon a safer place to live for everyone.
“This funding from the Home Office is an important step towards making our town centre spaces more welcoming and to tackle violence against women and girls.”
Since his election, the council has worked to deliver on reducing incidents of antisocial behaviour, launching a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in May, providing the police with increased powers to deal nuisances or problems which harm the community’s quality of life.
Violent offences have proven more difficult to tackle, with Met Police statistics showing that between April and October 2023 the same number of violent offences have been committed as in the whole of the previous year.
Knife crime in particular is on the rise, with a parliamentary report showing incidents for the period 22/23 increasing by 25% on the previous year.
It is unclear how the council plan to use the funding and detailed plans are yet to be released.
The council did not respond to a request for comment on its plan.
Pressure has increased on the authorities in recent weeks after a spate of violent offences brought the area into national focus.
In September, there were 149 violent and sexual offences, most notably the murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Elianne Andam as she attempted to protect her friend.
On the early hours of Saturday 18th November a woman was raped in West Croydon.
The same day, a Crystal Palace supporters group displayed a large ‘tifo’ style banner during their match against Everton, condemning the council which read: “Croydon Council. The shame of our borough. Stop wasting time on us. Sort out the real issues.”
In a statement posted on social media, the group Holmesdale Fanatics expanded on the protest, stating it was in response to perceived unfair targeting of football fans by removing platforms in the stand, preventing banners being hung and over-zealous searches on entering the stadium.
In response, a spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “The safety of supporters and visitors to Selhurst Park is our priority.
“A temporary structure built from scaffold poles in the Lower Holmesdale stand was removed by Crystal Palace FC to comply with health and safety regulations, following discussions with the council.
“We are open to discussions with the club about a new temporary structure that meets the club’s health and safety requirements.”