Police held a fun day at a park traditionally associated with dogging in the hope of convincing the whole community they can use the open space without fear.

Police vehicles old and new, bike marking, and crime prevention advice were combined with face painting, cake stalls, representatives from local charities and martial arts demonstrations at the event in Beulah Heights, South Norwood, on Saturday.

Sergeant Leah MacDonald from South Norwood Safer Neighbourhood team, who organised the day, said: "Since the 60s the park has been used as a gay cruising location and has developed a reputation as not being somewhere people want to go or take their children. We wanted to encourage local people to come and use their park and not feel they have to avoid the area."

She added that her team were not looking to marginalise or target the gay community, and on the day Aurora, Croydon's lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) police consultation group were present, as was a LGBT liaison officer.

Sgt MacDonald added: "The day was about us telling people that if they have a problem they can come and talk to us, and this refers to the gay community as well. If they are on the receiving end of homophobic abuse or persecution we want them to feel they can tell us."