CROYDON'S borough commander has promised to increase police presence on London Road by opening new contact points.
Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant made the commitment at a public meeting held by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) on Tuesday, for residents to have their say about policing in the borough.
Ganapathy Kasinathan, chairman of London Road Business Association, raised concerns at the meeting about the impact criminality in the area was having on traders.
Mr Tarrant said he was planning to open new police contact points on the road – at Croydon University Hospital and the Croydon Voluntary Action centre.
At the meeting residents and volunteers questioned a panel, also including Deputy Mayor for Crime and Policing Stephen Greenhalgh, Croydon GLA member Steve O'Connell, and the Met's Assistant Commissioner Helen King, on a wide range of crime issues.
They raised concerns about the housing of alcoholics in Croydon town centre, closer integration with Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, and a rise in domestic violence in the borough.
Mr Kasinathan said traders in the London Road area had "lost confidence" in policing because of gangs, drug selling, car theft and burglary in the area.
He said: "We have been working with Croydon Council in the last two years to bring some regeneration and investment to London Road and bring betterment to the traders, but these kind of incidents, it really makes us wonder.
"Especially at late nights and from the morning onwards, there's gangs around selling drugs openly on the road."
Responding to Mr Kasinathan's concerns, Chief Supt Tarrant apologised if traders felt they had lost confidence in policing and said regeneration would help.
As well as the new contact points, he also said he would look at getting officers with particular backgrounds to work with communities relevant to them. A Sri Lankan officer is already working with the community in London Road, he added.
There are currently six police contact points across Croydon, open from 7-8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 2-3pm on Saturdays, set up after five of the borough's six police stations were controversially closed last year.
In the wake of the August 2011 riots, an independent judge-led panel recommended a new, full-time police station be built on London Road.