11 Arrests for Mobile Phone Robbery in Croydon and Purley Areas

Concerns have recently been raised about the mobile phone thefts in Purley, South Croydon and central Croydon, especially from school age children coming home after school, and especially in and around trains and train stations, buses and bus stops and (in the case of central Croydon) also trams and tram stops.

In response to this, I convened a meeting before Christmas with some local headteachers, British Transport Police, Mayor Jason Perry and local Police including Borough Superintendent Mitch Carr.  I also discussed the issue with South Area BCU Commander Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain (who covers Croydon, Bromley and Sutton).

I am pleased to say that the Police have recently intensified their activity against this crime type, including in January a specific operation to track down and target perpetrators across the areas affected.  This resulted in 11 arrests being made and a substantial decline in offending afterwards. Intelligence showed that offenders typically were males between 14 and 17 years of age, operating in teams of two to three members, often wearing Balaclavas and surgical facemasks to hide their faces.  Police Officers analysed crime patterns which enabled them to target places where the perpetrators were likely to be.

Results included four males who robbed pupils of their phones on two occasions being tracked on CCTV, caught and arrested; two other males were caught trying to hide from police and were found in possession of stolen mobile phone paraphernalia and arrested; and five males were identified and arrested due to extensive secondary investigation for previously reported offences.  Police Officers also deployed to hotspot areas and targeted several known suspects and cleared the area of further robberies through persistent high vis-patrolling of the hotspot robbery areas. Schools officers attended school assemblies to provide crime prevention advice, while uniformed officers spoke to students on how to keep themselves and their possessions safe.

This work is all separate to the live facial recognition work that I emailed about a few days ago.

Clearly, more work is needed to ensure our young people are safe – particularly as they make their way to and from school. The Police have said that they will continue to target this crime type, and I will continue to monitor this closely and encourage further targeted Police activity. But 11 arrests of those who were carrying out these crimes is a good start to the year, and I’d like to thank the Police for those results.  In the meantime, if anyone sees anyone suspicious or witnesses any crimes, please report it the Police immediately.

I hope this update is useful.