Column for The Croydon Advertiser: Thanks to police who work so hard to keep us safe
Last week, The Advertiser reported on the heart-wrenching story of a wheelchair-bound 101 year-old resident who had his life savings stolen when his home in South Norwood was burgled.
This kind of crime can have a devastating impact on people. It’s not only the financial loss and the knowledge your home is not secure - it changes how you feel about the area where you live and undermines your faith in human nature.
But in this case that faith was about to be restored because when Acting Detective Sergeant Andy Pike and his team discovered what had happened, they were moved to action. They organised a collection among their colleagues to make sure the victim wasn’t short of money with Christmas approaching. These aren’t super-rich City tycoons with plenty of cash to spare - they are public servants who have seen their salary reduced in real terms in recent years as a result of the tough decisions that I and others have had to take up at Westminster. Their actions went above and beyond the call of duty.
Last year, I spent a fascinating three days with Croydon Police. On the first day, I was assigned to the Response Team - the officers in police cars who respond to 999 calls. Our shift started at 3pm and when I left them completing some paperwork just after 10pm the officers I spent the shift with hadn't had any break at all. On the second day, I spent the morning with a detective who specialised in domestic violence cases and the afternoon with the Task Force, a team of officers that deals primarily with robbery and burglary across the borough. And on the third day, I was with a Safer Neighbourhood Team, a very different style of policing to the Task Force. On all three days, I was struck by how hard officers work.
The dedication of the police and all the emergency services in Croydon cannot be underestimated. They regularly work long and thankless hours, going above and beyond the call of duty to keep us safe. As this is the last column I’ll write before Christmas, I wanted to pay tribute to all those who work day in, day out, all year and even over the Christmas holiday period to keep us safe.
To them and to all my constituents, have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
This column first appeared in The Croydon Advertiser on 13th December 2013
UPDATE: 20th December 2013
In response to the coverage in the Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian, DS Pike has been contacted by members of the public who have donated an additional £710.00 to the victim. Coupled with the funds already raised by Croydon's police that amounts to over £1,200. An incredible development.