Privacy fears over Croydon front counter closures
Concerns have been raised about privacy levels for victims reporting sexual assault and domestic violence if front counter closures at police stations go ahead.
Under proposals by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), Croydon will lose five out of six of its front counters at police stations.
South Norwood Police Station, which has a 24 hour front desk, has been earmarked for sale.
Front counters at Kenley, Purley, Addington and Norbury are also set to go.
One of the replacement plans to increase police engagement with the public is to have contact points in places such as supermarkets, libraries and post offices at certain times during the week.
This idea has raised some concerns about the level of privacy when reporting crimes at these locations, particularly victims of rape and domestic violence.
Monique Ribeiro, chairwoman of the Croydon Police Consultative Group, said it was an issue which needed attention before the new plans are rolled out.
She said: "I know at the moment that things like domestic violence go unreported. We need to know how to support those victims, not only how to report it but report it through the whole system.
"They are going to have to think very hard about how they set up these counters. "
Yvonna Tranor, chief executive of South London Rape Crisis Centre, said the idea of having contact points in public places was absurd and it could result in less people reporting these crimes.
She said: "Having something in a supermarket for example, I can’t imagine how awful that would be for people to report something.
"We actually recommend to our clients to phone up and ask to speak to somebody from the sexual offences team. In terms of people going into a supermarket, it is ridiculous and ludicrous.
"It isn’t feasible. Women who have been a victim of these types of crimes will be in complete shock. The last thing they are going to do is walk into a supermarket and talk to someone about it."
Superintendent Rob Atkin, acting borough commander, said: "I understand what peoples’ concerns are but we are extremely sensitive when dealing with these types of cases and will always give someone privacy."