Croydon police borough commander Dave Musker answers your questions
When we asked you to send in questions for the borough commander Chief Superintendent Dave Musker you got in touch on a wide variety of issues.
Chief reporter Robert Fisk took your questions to Croydon’s top cop to see what he had to say.
What are the police doing to catch burglars?
I have a dedicated team of detectives and uniformed officers working on burglary full time and we have a dedicated forensic response so where we can recover evidence forensically we do that.
Apart from doing the simple things relentlessly well we have trialled a number of innovative tactics and techniques to improve our response so we are a credible opposition to the people who burgle and make people’s lives a misery.
There is a whole package of measures that we use to focus on this impact crime.
I would rather be judged on our results, this financial year we will cut burglary by 8 to 10 per cent which translates into hundreds fewer victims and we will arrest and convict more people than last year.
My sense is burglary is too high and it should be a priority of your local police and we have managed to lock more people up to keep people in Croydon safer this year.
We now use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to look at people that come into our borough and we have a number of dedicated teams that will respond to ANPR activation so people that come to Croydon to burgle can be targeted and proactively stopped.
I’m not the judge and the jury but in my opinion people that commit residential burglaries should be imprisoned because of the impact on the victims; it is an invasion of their personal space.
Why have Gary Hayward’s attackers not been brought to justice? What steps are the police taking to try and convict the men responsible?
In such a devastating case for the family and for Gary (pictured above) we will never close that file. If new evidence comes forward we will of course investigate it.
It’s not around understanding who did this crime, it’s about people willing to come forward and give evidence in court.
We must put forward in court relevant evidence to prove or disprove someone’s guilt.
“Anybody who comes forward they do so in confidence, they can speak to my senior detectives or give information through Crimestoppers or ring me personally at this police station and we will act on any intelligence that they give us.
“We need the support of the community if we are to bring somebody to justice and put them before a court.”
What are Croydon police doing about cyclists riding on the pavements?
Last year we had 14 fatal accidents and if that had been 14 murders you would be saying to me what am I doing about it.
This is 14 families grieving for people who died in a variety of ways across the borough which is fairly significant.
We put a campaign together in December and January and ticketed to try and change the behaviour of motorists and cyclists.
We issued hundreds of tickets in those months targeting inappropriate driving, red lights, speeding, using mobile phones while driving and also careless and inappropriate cycling like going through red lights and cutting up cars.
Following the rules of the road means it keeps everybody safe.
We have had a good start to this year and we will be out there enforcing the law to keep everybody safe.
Can you assure the Crystal Palace community that there will be a police presence to calm traffic during Remembrance Sunday at the Upper Norwood War Memorial. Last year the community was disappointed that the police were not in attendance last year as has been the norm.
Of course we would wish to support community events across this borough including this event.
On the particular day last year there was a major public military event in central Croydon which I personally attended, there was football across London plus there was business as usual plus there were the major events in London for which we supplied officers.
If we can I will supply police officers to honour this very important community occasion but that day is a very busy day for policing across the capital and so I will have to prioritise where I put my resources to keep the public safe.
Please can you detail some good examples of cross-borough policing exercises and results that have been forthcoming from this. In the Crystal Palace area on the edge of five boroughs there is concern that policing efficiency is jeopardised.
One of the really good initiatives has been the creation of the Crystal Palace Triangle team.
It doesn’t police the boundaries, it polices the geography.
One of the side effects of our local policing model is that the north teams are based at Gipsy Hill and there is a dedicated response with a large number of officers.
The problem of policing the area where five boroughs meet is well known and we have some dedicated resources focused on that problem and I think we have had some significant successes.
Crime is down, we are arresting a large number of people and intelligence is flowing in and we have and continue to make an impact in that area.
What are the police doing to make the streets of Croydon safer?
Let me talk about two crimes rather than talk a load of blah.
Street robbery – this year we will cut it by about 25 per cent by dedicated hard nosed tactics, led by Detective Chief Inspector Steve Baxter.
That’s keeping the good citizens of Croydon safer in a public place.
The town centre – we have a dedicated operation at the weekends and a dedicated town centre team using all our partnerships and using British Transport Police and my officers.
Offences of violence are down considerably year on year and there is a better feel when you come into central Croydon.
I’m committed, as are my officers, to making Croydon a safer place and serving the public.
Why do you think youngsters feel they need to carry knives?
They don’t. Croydon has the highest number of young people in London and not every kid is a bad kid and not every kid carries a knife.
We are talking about a small minority that feels they need to carry a knife.
If we stop and search people and they are found with a knife they will be arrested.
We will place the evidence before the Crown Prosecution Service and my view is they should not be cautioned they should go before a court.
If you carry a knife it is unacceptable, it’s dangerous to yourself and the public and if we catch you will take positive action.
I have met too many families whose children have been subject to violence and I don’t have any sympathy with people who carry knives in public places.
One resident has asked to be kept informed of when 'meets with the police' take place but said he has heard nothing. How can people be informed about when the meetings take place?
It’s all on the website. Most of the neighbourhood teams are trying to develop our community contacts by using our street briefings and community contact points.
The Met has gone digital, not tremendously digital but we have gone slightly more digital so that’s one way of doing it.
We are also trying to pilot in Croydon each of our neighbourhood teams having a Twitter feed.
Plus there’s enough of them patrolling.
There’s more cops than we have had for a long time so I would encourage people to go along and see their local community team and establish contact with them.
Tell us your concerns, give us intelligence and we will act upon that intelligence.
What percent of crime in North Croydon is carried out by the "residents" of the many bail houses / hostels dumped on the good people of North Croydon?
The key issue that I need to reassure people is that we work with our partners to proactively monitor bail hostels and offenders across Croydon and they will be appropriately supervised by neighbourhood officers and regularly visited.
We have a good relationship with our hostel providers. Our expectations are simple. They should be well managed and well regulated and that we will have an appropriate engagement with probation to make sure people stick to the terms of their licences.
I’m confident we have the right level of supervision and engagement.
What are the crime problems faced in north Croydon?
North Croydon is part of inner London so all crime types are present.
We have a high level of domestic violence across Croydon and that is a unique feature of this borough.
In my 24 years as a police officer there’s nothing I have come across in Croydon that I haven’t come across in the rest of London but the thing that’s different is the accepted level of domestic violence in this borough.
I think all your readers would join with me in saying it’s unacceptable that somebody could feel vulnerable in their home when they should be at their most safe.
All of us in the public services right across this borough are working together to try and reduce offending and to make people understand the consequences of that offending.
What will be the biggest issues for Croydon police over the next five years?
Croydon is changing. It’s now the most populist London borough and probably the most diverse so the demographics are changing very quickly as well as the built environment. When Hammerson Westfield start building in the town centre it will fundamentally change this borough so we need to be responsive to that change.
Secondly I need to deliver a more efficient and effective responsive public service. We are still in the age of austerity so I have to deliver more efficient policing.
And trust and confidence in the police and the evenhandedness of our approach and the integrity of what we do.
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