Croydon MP calls for answers following damning riot report
MP Malcolm Wicks has challenged the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to investigate after a report claimed vans of police reinforcements were diverted from protecting Croydon during the riots.
Mr Wicks, MP for Croydon North, was responding to claims made in a report Reading the Riots from a police sergeant from Hampshire saying they were called from helping in Croydon even as they watched House of Reeves burn.
He said: "According to the testimony of one police sergeant it appears that these much needed police reinforcements were sent away simply because they were not police from the Metropolitan Police Service. "If this is true, it beggars belief and is an absolute disgrace. For that reason I am calling on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to investigate whether the allegation is true and, if it turns out to be true, to explain this extraordinary action to the people of Croydon."
The report, prepared by The Guardian newspaper and the London School of Economics, quotes the 36-year-old sergeant, stating officers from Thames Valley and Hampshire police were turned away following a radio conversation between his controller and a Met supervisor.
He said: "The controller said 'You've got nine vans coming down the hill from Thames Valley and Hampshire.' and he said 'Cancel.' Meanwhile we can see Croydon burning."
The sergeant claims the reason given was the supervisor wanted Met resources, and said this had a massive effect on their morale.
At a full Croydon Council meeting on Monday July 2 Councillor Paul Smith demanded to know why this information had not come to light as part of the independent review conducted by former judge His Honour William Barnett QC.
He said: "There are serious questions to be asked."
Steve O’Connell, Greater London Assembly member for Croydon said he had contacted the Met Police for answers on the issues raised in the report.