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I am delighted to report that a series of concerted actions by the Metropolitan Police have resulted in a decline in the number of school muggings in Croydon.

At the end of last year there were several reports from parents of children who were the victims of violent robberies on their way to and from school.

After discussions with parents, I circulated a letter outlining my concern and detailing steps I believed the police should take to begin to address the problem. These included increasing police presence at transport hubs and boosting street lighting in these areas.

Now, after talks with police, I am very happy to hear that their operations have had a considerable effect. One operation, nicknamed ‘Zoedone’ has involved overt policing around the hotspot areas and transport hubs.

This has been accompanied with proactive policing in another operation – ‘Trapeze’ – which focused on engaging young people in the borough during school holidays and giving them crime prevention advice.

Together, these actions have resulted in a decrease in the number of these incidents over the past few months. In February personal robbery offences in Croydon fell by 23% overall compared to the previous four-week period. Across February there was a decrease of 72% of personal robberies in the Croydon town centre footprint.

When schools went back in January there were no robberies in the hotspot areas that officers were tasked to, with 7 arrests made including 5 for robbery. Over the course of the February half-term there were 22 arrests with 18 of these for robbery or knife possession.

These operations are continuing. I hope that with time this police presence will lessen criminal activity in these areas more permanently. Further discussions are taking place with TfL to ensure safety around transport hubs and on TfL vehicles.

I am very pleased to see that the police’s actions have resulted in this significant decrease in the robberies of our school children here in Croydon and across South London.

The journey to and from school should not have to be a dangerous one, and these traumatic experiences can have long lasting effects. I am pleased that the police responded with speed, and it is clear their actions have had an immediate impact.

We must be clear that this is by no means the end of these problems, and we have to make sure that such proactive measures are maintained.