Shirley Library – threat of closure

We have been asked to bring the following to the attention of members …

Listening to residents to shape Croydon’s future library services

Croydon Council is proposing to consult residents on changes to its library service that will make it easier for more people across the borough to enjoy books and activities. Proposals include longer opening hours including weekends, improved facilities in fewer library buildings, and more staff to provide a new outreach service.

Since the last changes were introduced in April 2022, the council has been listening to residents and staff who have said that despite best efforts, the current service model isn’t working and that it doesn’t provide the opening hours needed or enough of the services that residents want.

The council has worked with Activist Group who have been looking at how the council can make better use of the existing resources to meet the needs of Croydon’s residents. This research has included looking at demand, local need, usage, demographics, the condition of library buildings and resident feedback. Their proposed recommendations are for a more sustainable library service. It proposes longer opening hours including weekends, with more events and services available to residents

To make these improvements, four library buildings; Bradmore Green, Broad Green, Sanderstead, and Shirley are proposed to be closed. This proposal is based on analysis of the buildings including visitor numbers, size and condition of the buildings, the size and needs of the communities they serve and running costs. No job losses are proposed, with the council intending to use the majority of the money saved from building costs to increase the number of library staff to provide the extended opening and outreach services.

Six libraries (Central, Ashburton, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Selsdon and Coulsdon) are proposed to be open five to six days a week, including Saturdays, and will deliver an extensive offer of books, wifi, PCs, study spaces and events. These libraries are well-used and have accessible buildings that meet local needs. Future investment in these sites is recommended to improve the facilities and extend the opening times and services available.

For New Addington, Purley and South Norwood Libraries — The council is proposing to introduce community hubs in these areas, where a library would be available alongside other services such as family and adult education services and community partnerships. Through the consultation, residents will be asked for their views and ideas for developing the offer for these libraries and help design how library services can be improved in these areas, to make them more accessible and better used by local people.

Other library services – such as the home library service and the extensive digital offer, including e-books and magazines, online learning and training resources – are set to continue and be improved as part of the future service.

A 10-week consultation is set to launch from Wednesday 7th February to Wednesday 17th April where residents are encouraged to have their say on the proposals and share their ideas for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the library service. Details will be available on the Library Website and you can email with your views. The council is keen to hear the views of those affected by the proposed library closures, including any impacts and alternative options to closing buildings and improving the service for residents. The consultation will also ask for ideas for future library outreach services and community venues that could be used to reach more people. Feedback received will help the council develop further recommendations which will go back to cabinet in May 2024.

Please note the online survey is due to go live Thursday 8th February after the initial webinar introducing the proposals.  The survey will be live for 10 weeks from 8 February until 18 April.    I will send you a link to the online survey as soon as it is published.

For your reference, the Cabinet papers are here:

Following the Webinar we are also setting up an initial round of public meetings and drop in sessions so that there can be a local conversation about the proposals, especially in areas with greatest impact.

List of public meetings scheduled in February: (to include)

Saturday 10th     2pm-4pm                           Central Library drop in (Cllr Stranack will be attending 2-3pm)
Thursday 15th   7pm-8.30pm                      Shirley Library public meeting, St George the Martyr, Church Hall, Elstan Way, Shirley, Croydon CR0 7PR
Friday 16th           10am-12pm                       Shirley Library drop in

Saturday 17th    2pm-4pm                            Broad Green library drop in
Monday 19th      7pm- 8.30pm                    Bradmore Green Library public meeting, Congregational Church, Coulsdon Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1EH
Tuesday 20th      2pm – 4pm                         Bradmore Green Library drop in
Tuesday 20th     6.30pm – 8.30pm            Sanderstead Library public meeting – Sanderstead United Reformed Church, 3 Sanderstead Hill, Sanderstead CR2 0HB
Wednesday 21st 10am – 12 noon              Sanderstead Library drop in
Friday  23rd        10am – 12noon                New Addington Library drop in

Recent police success in reducing crime involving school children in Croydon

Recent talks between our local politicians, local headteachers and the Borough’s police have yielded good results in reducing the amount of crime affecting young people travelling through central Croydon on their way to and from school.  Theft of mobile phones has been a particular problem.  Police have recently intensified their activity against this crime type, tracking down and targeting perpetrators. This resulted in 11 arrests being made and a substantial decline in offending afterwards. Police Officers analysed crime patterns which enabled them to target hot-spots where the perpetrators were likely to be.  They concentrated on several known suspects and cleared the area of further robberies through persistent high-vis patrolling.

In addition, Schools officers attended school assemblies to provide crime prevention advice, while uniformed officers spoke to students on how to keep themselves and their possessions safe.

Live Facial Recognition

We have lifted this article about a new “tool” available to our Police, from an MP’s website. SPRA is a non-(party) political body and has no association with the MP in question

I am delighted to report that multiple arrests were made in Croydon town centre [in late January] following the experimental deployment of Live Facial Recognition (LFR).  This is something I am pushing for nationally in my role as Policing Minister, and I am glad that the Met accepted my suggestion to further trial LFR in Croydon

LFR starts with a “watchlist” of images of people who are wanted for serious offences or who are wanted by the Court for failing to attend a criminal hearing.  A camera is then set up by Police in a location with high footfall, and advanced facial recognition software is used to see if anyone walking past matches one of the images on the watchlist.  Is there is a match, the officers running the system are alerted and they intervene to see if the person is indeed the one wanted.  The matching software is now incredibly accurate and advanced.

This has been deployed in Croydon town centre several times recently, on London Road and North End, and on the junction with Church Street. Arrests for the following offences were made in a matter of just a few hours:

  • Possession of firearm
  • GBH
  • Failure to appear in court for theft
  • Failure to appear in court for GBH
  • Failure to appear in court for assault on an emergency worker
  • Possession of a weapon with point or blade, drugs and burglary
  • Breach of non-molestation order
  • Failure to appear in court for ABH on police and drugs offences
  • Failure to appear in court for ABH
  • Fraud by misrepresentation
  • Failure to appear in court for theft
  • Failure to appear in court for GBH
  • Failure to appear in court for assault on an emergency worker
  • Possession of a weapon with point or blade, drugs and burglary
  • Breach of non-molestation order
  • Failure to appear in court for ABH on police and drugs offences
  • Failure to appear in court for ABH
  • Fraud by misrepresentation
  • Failure to appear in court for theft
  • Failure to appear in court for assault on an emergency worker
  • Failure to appear in court for drunk and disorderly behaviour
  • Breach of tag conditions by a convicted drug supplier

This deployment took 14 potentially dangerous people off the streets (SPRA note – as there are more than 14 offences listed, it is clear that at least one of the 14 persons had committed more than one of these offences).  The identity of the people stopped was verified separately from the facial recognition system, and no false alerts were generated.
There are safeguards around privacy and accuracy.  Any passer-by who is scanned and who is not on the watchlist is immediately and automatically deleted. The system is governed by detailed rules set out by the College of Policing, and there is case law setting out the legal requirements of the system.  This includes accuracy and no bias. The system has been tested by the National Physical Laboratory and at the setting used meets the legal requirements (it delivers no bias and a 1/6000 accuracy rate). There are also signs displayed that LFR is being used.
I am delighted that these potentially dangerous people have been taken off the street.  There are further LFR deployments planned in Croydon in the near future and I am pushing for this technology to be rolled out nationally, within the rules and guidelines to safeguard privacy. This technology has the potential to ensure that huge numbers of wanted criminals are caught.

Library consultation 7 February

We apologise for the very late notice of this Council-run webinar …

Find out more about proposed changes to library services
[books on shelves in a library]<>
Join our webinar on Wednesday 7 February, 7-8.30pm, to learn more about the proposals, have your questions answered, and find out how you can get involved in the consultation.

Free film & TV training course – 27th-28th February

Members may find the following of interest`

I am writing to you to inform you about a wonderful training opportunity for Croydon residents.

Croydon Film Office is inviting residents aged 18+ to attend a Set Ready Training programme organised by FilmFixer which is preparing the next generation of filmmakers. The training is a fantastic opportunity to learn the ins and outs of working on a film set a unique chance for those willing to get their foot in the door of the competitive filming industry. It is conducted by working industry professionals and the best part is that we work to find paid placements for the course graduates on professional film sets across the south boroughs.

Our next London course will run on the 27th and 28th of February. It is completely free of charge and there is no requirement for previous industry experience, however, all applicants must be 18 years old or over, and be residents of Southwark, Bexley, Bromley or Croydon.

We would really appreciate it if you are able to share this information with your communities and direct anyone that is interested to our website for further information on how to apply. I’m attaching a leaflet with all this information as well as promotional images that you can use to promote the course if you wish.

Thank you very much. We’re really looking forward to hosting a Set Ready course and opening this opportunity for Croydon residents.

Best wishes,


Sandra Perez Escudero (she/her)

Operations Officer


Direct Dial: 020 3887 6857 | Switchboard: 020 7620 0391 | 24-hour Emergency Number: 07919 002 115

Address: FilmFixer Ltd., Unit C, 57-59 Great Suffolk Street, London, SE1 0BB

An express bus service between Croydon and Bromley

The Director of London Buses has asked us to bring the latest report on this service to the attention of members. She says:-

Between 21 July and 4 September 2023, we consulted on proposals for a new express stop bus service between Bromley and Croydon, called the SL5<>. This new service would be part of the Superloop, a network of express routes which would circle London and connect outer London town centres, hospitals, schools and transport hubs. The Superloop is a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to improving the bus network in outer London.

Today we are publishing our report<> on this consultation and the response to issues raised<>. We received positive feedback to our proposals, with 74 per cent of respondents saying that a new express bus service between Bromley and Croydon would make their journey more convenient. 81 per cent of respondents also said that they thought our proposals for the SL5 would make their journey quicker, and 58 per cent of respondents said they would be likely to use the new express route to replace a journey made by private car.

We asked people whether they thought the number of stops we are proposing for the express route was right. 53 per cent of respondents thought these were ‘just right’ and 24 per cent of respondents thought there should be more stops.

Following careful consideration of all the feedback we received to the consultation, we have decided to proceed with our proposals but with some adjustments. Details of this can be found in the report.

The SL5 bus service had been approved and is due to start on 3 February.