Croydon police is launching a back to school safety campaign, focusing on keeping young people and their possessions safe.

The operation, which begins today, September 1, will see extra patrols by uniformed and plain-clothed officers in the after-school period for the first two weeks of the new term.

Police will be at busy transport hubs and routes across the borough to help deter criminals from targeting young people as they make their way home from school.

Officers will be giving out crime prevention leaflets and speaking to children and parents about how youngsters can stay safe.

And officers will be visiting some secondary schools and telling the year 7 pupils how they can protect their phones and gadgets against thieves.

Detective Constable Sandra Wood, who is leading the operation, said: ““A new school year often means new, expensive equipment and, for many, new travel routes using public transport on their own for the first time.

“While we've seen big reductions in robberies recently, there is a danger that it can increase at the beginning of September - something that we're keen to prevent.

“Young people starting at new schools and with new phones can take some simple steps to help prevent becoming a victim of crime and having their property stolen.

“Be familiar with your journey and keep your valuables out of sight when in public.

“While it’s important for young people to be able to keep in touch with their parents via mobile phones, it might not be necessary for them to have expensive handsets, which are more attractive to thieves.”