CROYDON RIOTS: Geography of borough made job difficult for police
POLICE have hit back at claims they were unprepared for Monday night's rioting – insisting the geography of the borough made their jobs difficult.
In an exclusive interview with the Advertiser, Detective Superintendent Jo Oakley said officers were dealing with problems dotted all over Croydon.
It meant the officers – whom she confirmed were pelted with petrol bombs and bricks – were completely stretched.
Three Croydon officers were left with minor injuries, while a PCSO suffered a serious eye injury.
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It is unclear whether any officers brought in from outside Croydon to help were also hurt.
Det Supt Oakley, deputy borough commander who is currently running Croydon's policing department, said: "It was the logistics of where it was happening and how many people were involved.
"It was going on throughout the ground. People were jumping on the bandwagon and, given the opportunity, were committing these crimes.
"The biggest problem on Monday night was that it wasn't confined to one area.
"There were pockets of trouble from the furthest point north to the furthest south.
"If it was confined to an area then we would have been able to control it, deal with it and prevent it from happening."
One of the areas police were accused of leaving vulnerable was Broad Green.
But Det Supt Oakley says officers had been covering there.
She explained if they were needed elsewhere they would have been redeployed – rather than left at a spot where nothing was happening at the time.
And once at another crime scene, they would need to tackle and investigate it.
On Wednesday morning, the Met confirmed it had arrested a total of 768 people in connection with violence, disorder and looting across London – with Croydon having the highest number of arrests on Monday night.
Although unable to give details of how many police officers are being deployed to tackle the violence, the numbers have risen since Monday – with extra bodies being pulled in from as far away as South Wales.
These high numbers are set to remain for the time being.
Det Supt Oakley said: "I'm absolutely confident that we have the resources and tactics to deal with these people and we will do everything to try and catch them.
"I'm personally upset that these yobs think this is acceptable and they can do this in Croydon."
Praising the bravery of her officers, Det Supt Oakley says the public should go about their normal business but take extra care.