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Croydon has highest number of police officers who live in the borough they work in

Croydon has highest number of police officers who live in the borough they work in
Jun 18, 2016 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published on The Croydon Advertiser on 17/06/2016.

Croydon has highest number of police officers who live in the borough they work in

Croydon has the highest number of police officers of anywhere in London who live in the borough they are stationed in.

Some 146 officers – approximately one in five – based in Croydon also live in the borough.

In many inner London boroughs only a tiny number of officers live in the communities they serve, according to figures obtained by Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry.

There is only one officer living and working in Islington, two in Kensington and Chelsea and four in Southwark.

A report, published on Thursday, shows half of London’s police officers live outside the capital (in Croydon the figure is 49 per cent), despite recruitment policies introduced by the Metropolitan Police.

In August 2014, the Met introduced residency criteria which require applicants to have lived in the capital for at least three of the previous six years. Then Mayor Boris Johnson said the policy had “acted to strongly encourage the recruitment of officers from London”.

Number of officers living in the borough they are stationed in

“With little progress made, the Mayor, Met Commissioner and new Deputy Mayor for Policing must revisit the issue of where our police live. Promises to achieve ambitious goals for ethnic and gender balance depend on making more effective plans to recruit from within London.

“They should also give officers incentives to stay in London when their family circumstances and housing needs change.”

Ms Berry’s report said housing costs were a factor in where officers choose to live after being recruited, with average rents exceeding 50 per cent of the pay of a new police constable. The relatively high number of officers living and working in Croydon might be a reflection of the comparative affordability of living in the borough. According to the Met there were 704 full-time equivalent officers based in Croydon as of April 2016.

Percentage of officers living outside of London

In 2010, Kit Malthouse, chairman of the now defunct Metropolitan Police Authority, said officers were living in “ghettos” in Surrey and Hertfordshire because they feared living in London.

He claimed they no longer travelled in uniform through fear of being identified, citing an incident in Croydon in 2008 when two officers were attacked “by a baying mob” after confronting two young girls over dropping litter.

Mayor Sadiq Khan’s election manifesto promised to “promote a police force that looks like the communities it is charged with keeping safe, with the aim of having a Met that is as diverse as London’s population”.

Ms Berry said: “If the police service is to have a real understanding of London’s diverse boroughs and communities, we have to recruit and retain more officers who don’t just look like the people they served but who come from and live in our communities.