BBC poll shows Croydon and Hackney residents still feel unsafe in many areas hit by 2011 riots

Rebuilding after the riots in Croydon pic: Peter G Trimming, flickr

A poll has shown that many residents in the areas affected by last summer’s riots still do not feel safe in their communities.

The poll was carried out by ComRes for BBC London 94.9. Of the 1,007 adults surveyed, 50 per cent said they felt unsafe in parts of their borough.

The boroughs where the highest percentage of people felt unsafe were Hackney and Croydon, with 54 and 52 per cent respectively.

The poll also surveyed locals in Greenwich, Haringey and Southwark. Along with Croydon and Hackney these were the boroughs worst affected during the riots, based on numbers of people arrested and charged.

Although 81 per cent of those surveyed said they felt safe living in their neighbourhood, 50 per cent agreed with the statement: “There is part of my local area I do not feel safe going to.”

Asked whether “Where I live is a good place to bring up children,” 65 per cent agreed and 31 per cent disagreed.

75 per cent agreed: “The police are on the side of ordinary people in my neighbourhood,” with 17 per cent disagreeing.

Only 35 per cent agreed that “Politicians and local authorities care about helping people like me,” however, while 56 per cent disagreed.

ComRes surveyed 200 demographically representative people in each borough.

Councillor Sophie Linden, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for Crime, Sustainability and Customer Services, said: “Crime in Hackney is at its lowest for 10 years, but it does concern me that residents could feel unsafe in some parts of the borough.

“We need to work harder with the police to make sure that residents feel safe in Hackney.” Confidence in the police was lowest in Hackney, at 68 per cent.

A Croydon Council spokesperson said: “We find that fear of crime doesn’t correspond with Croydon’s crime rates, which are similar to those throughout the London boroughs.

“Despite what people might think, statistics show that people are really just as safe living in Croydon as they are in any similar part of London. We welcome every opportunity such as this to set the matter straight so that our residents and visitors can feel reassured.”

Jason Cummings, Conservative Councillor for Heathfield ward in Croydon, also told EastLondonLines: “I’d be amazed if 50 per cent of residents felt unsafe. Of course people will have concerns but I haven’t received any feedback from residents who feel unsafe.

“People choose to live in Croydon and the local residents are satisfied; we have good transport and good shopping centres.”

He added he would be “very surprised” if the riots were to happen again.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC: “Regardless of the headlines we see regularly it is reassuring to know three-quarters of the people questioned for the BBC survey recognised the police were on their side.”

Rowley said: “Having faced unprecedented challenges we are determined to do all we can to improve.”

EastLondonLines asked Croydon residents whether they felt safe following the riots.

Unemployed Jamie Barrett, 28, said: “I feel safe in Croydon because there is a big police presence. I see police officers in the streets every day. I don’t think Croydon residents were affected much by the riots. I was around when they happened but I still feel safe in Croydon and I don’t think they will happen again.”

Croydon College student Umarzi Ehzaddhah, 19, said: “Its all right living in Croydon, I feel safe. I felt a bit nervous after the riots but not so much now and I don’t think any riots will happen again, but it can’t be guaranteed.”

While 68-year-old Christine Payne said: “I’ve lived in Croydon all my life and I feel quite safe, but I know a lot of people that have been mugged. I don’t like it sometimes when people push and shove me on the streets and throw their litter on the floor. But I do generally like Croydon.”

The riots followed the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police in Tottenham on August 4. The looting began in the commercial centre of Tottenham on August 6 and ended with almost 3,000 people being arrested and the shooting of Trevor Ellis, in Croydon, during the chaos.

The Croydon Independent Local Review Panel recently set out its recommendations on how future disturbances could be prevented. The report raised concerns about underlying tensions in the areas affected by the riots.


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