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West Croydon gunpoint robbery victim "too scared" to tell police


A SHOPKEEPER robbed at gunpoint in London Road refused to report the crime to police - because she lacks faith in their ability to get tough on gangs.

In the week senior officers hailed an operation that jailed ten drug dealers, the female shopkeeper was ambushed in the street, but refused to report what had happened.

The woman was walking to her car after closing time on Friday evening when she was pounced upon by a group of armed men, who tried to grab her bag.

During a desperate attempt to fight off her attackers, she was struck with one of the weapons and is thought to have suffered a broken arm.

The shopkeeper, who managed to hold on to her bag, informed London Road Business Association, but refuses to report the incident to the police.

Association chairman Ganapathy Kasinathan said: "I told her she needs to tell the police, but she won't because she has no confidence that action will be taken and is worried something will happen to her.

"She is not alone. Many shopkeepers question why they should report crimes, when they are targeted if they do.

"These people commit crimes like this because there's no comeback.

"They aren't scared of the police so they do what they like. People with this attitude need to be cleared out."

Mr Kasinathan cited the incident when asked whether West Croydon had improved since police arrested ten drug dealers supplying substances such as crack cocaine and heroin.

When the final member of the gang - who lived in Broad Green and Thornton Heath - was jailed last Friday, Detective Superintendent Simon Messinger said the operation sent a message that police are serious about tackling gang crime.

But he has admitted to the Advertiser that "certain members of the community in the West Croydon and London Road area are sometimes reluctant to report crime to police".

Det Supt Messinger added: "We have, for some time, been working with local partners and the local communities in that area to improve communications and trust with them and we want anyone who has been a victim of crime to be confident enough to report it to police."

Police have previously acknowledged that crime in London Road is under-reported, particularly among Asian communities.

In an analysis of gangs published last July, police identified the Jaffna Boys, an adult Tamil gang in Broad Green involved in violence, robbery, weapons and extortion, as a serious problem.

"The Jaffna Boys act within their own community and that community is reluctant to speak about them, leading to a dearth of criminal and community intelligence and the under-reporting of crime allegations," the report adds.

Broad Green councillor Mike Selva said: "I understand why this shopkeeper is concerned. There is a general feeling among people, not only the Asian community, that there is no point in reporting crimes.

"But it's very important they do. Unless it's recorded how can anyone, be that the police, the local authority or Government, understand the full extent of the problem?"

Chandra Babu, vice-chairman of the Asian Resource Centre, is also a member of the Independent Advisory Group, which meets police to discuss community issues.

He said: "A significant amount of people in London Road don't have confidence in the police.

"Things have improved slightly over the last five years, but it's often a case of one step forward and two steps back."

There has been a sharp rise in robberies in Broad Green, where the number of offences per 1,000 of the population increased by 20.4 per cent in a year; from 16.5 in 2011 to 19.8 in 2012.

West Croydon gunpoint robbery victim

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