If I have the privilege of representing Croydon for years to come, I hope I never have to go through another day like today.
I was up early and into the town centre to see the damage for myself. I parked at the Town Hall and walked down the High Street then North End. There were lots of Council staff out cleaning up and damage to the shops along North End was pretty light. But once I got to West Croydon station, it was a different story. The police had cordoned off two stretches of London Road where the fire service was still trying to put out fires. Several buildings were burnt out shells and many of the businesses had been looted. Later in the day, I went down Church Road to see the remains of Reeves store, which survived the Luftwaffe but not last night's gangs, and up to New Addington to see the remains of the Co-op on Central Parade. It was a painful, emotional day. In all three locations, there was real - and understandable - anger from traders who felt that the police had protected the central shopping district but left them unprotected. You can see photos taken by my PA Jen here: http://tinyurl.com/4xwfdmn.
Along with the Leader of the Council, I was briefed by the police, fire service, British Transport Police and Council officers on their plans to ensure yesterday's disorder was not repeated today.
At lunchtime, the Prime Minister came to Croydon to see the damage for himself. His office asked me to get together local businessmen whose premises had been damaged and residents who had either been trapped in their homes or forced to evacuate to talk to him about their experiences and let him know what they would like him to do. He got a very clear message that we needed more police on our streets taking a more robust approach and if that didn't work more radical ideas such as using the army should be tried. He was able to reassure us that there will be 16,000 police officers on London's street tonight compared with 6,000 last night but of course that's too late for businesses like Reeves.
Later in the day, we also had a visit from Boris Johnson. He talked to local residents, police officers and firemen and to the Reeves family. He was visibly shocked by the devestation at Reeves Corner but struck the right optimistic note about our ability to rebuild.
In between these meetings, I did countless media interviews. I tried to reflect the real anger people have expressed to me, the desire to see people caught and properly punished, the need for more robust policing but also our gratitude to those who put their lives on the line last night and my pride at the many people in the town who want to help make things right.
That's was the one silver lining to what was otherwise a difficult day. If you want to help, you can register here.
Finally, the Met need our help to identify those responsible. You'll find lots of pictures here. If you know anyone, contact the police or call Crimestoppers, completely anonymously, on 0800 555 111.