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Croydon riots three years on: Survey reveals lack of pride for town and distrust of police

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THREE years ago today, Croydon faced up to its darkest hour as rioters and looters turned our streets into a scene of unprecedented lawlessness and criminality. To mark the anniversary, we asked Advertiser readers for your views on how Croydon has moved forward and your hopes and feelings for the future. As ANDREW JAMESON reports, the results make for some depressing reading...

THREE years have passed since the riots and the scars are still evident in the victims, the businesses and the landscape of Croydon itself. And in our survey of Advertiser readers' views, you have made it abundantly clear there is still plenty of work to do to lift the town from its post-riots gloom. Promises of compensation have taken longer than expected, work to improve the areas worst-affected has been slow and a feeling of distrust in the police and other authorities has emerged. Out of the 300 people who took part in our survey, 71 per cent feel there could be another riot on the 2011 scale within the next ten years. The police response to the riots was heavily criticised as being too soft and, although official police figures indicate crime has fallen, West Croydon resident Bushra Ahmed feels the tensions could come to a head again. She said: "I wouldn't rule out a repeat because the same set of circumstances are still there with youth unemployment and the other issues that caused the riots. "A lot of those people have served their time and are now out and you get the sense that things are building up again. "Unless you tackle those issues head on, it is hard to see how things will change." Ms Ahmed also made reference to what she referred to as the "waste" of money given to the borough to help recover from the riots by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. She added: "They threw thousands of pounds at stupid community groups for things like 'engagement' which did nothing." But Ms Ahmed did stress some positive aspects, especially the community response compared to other riot-affected areas like Tottenham and Hackney. However, 63 per cent of respondents to our survey agreed or strongly agreed that Croydon's reputation had been irreparably damaged by the riots. In response to a question about the riot victims, two thirds of you believe not enough is being done to help them. Steve Reed, Croydon North MP, said Prime Minister David Cameron and Mr Johnson had committed to helping Croydon get over the effects of the riots to ensure there would be no repeat. He added: "There are still, three years on, a lot of people who feel let down because these promises made to them have not been met in full." Binu Mathew was left financially crippled and bloody-faced by rioters after they destroyed his business Wibi Stores in London Road. He is now so disillusioned that three years later, he has given up all hope of any form of resolution to his problems. Mr Mathew said: "I see all these things in newspapers about how people are being paid out and they are receiving compensation and liabilities but it is not true. "I am now just working hard for my family to try and clear debts caused by the riots. It has not got better in this time." Perhaps most alarmingly for those striving to improve Croydon's image, 57 per cent of you say you are not proud to come from the town.

Croydon riots three years on: Survey reveals lack of pride for town and distrust of police


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