On Wednesday I wrote about the heavy mob being used to break into the homes of two families in Croydon where benefit offences were suspected. By Wednesday afternoon the police were under a great deal of pressure due to the backlash on social media that the Croydon Advertiser reported that the Metropolitan Police were now claiming that the raids involved suspected drugs offenses and one of the homes included a teenager known for anti-social behaviour.
Let’s take aside the fact that they made some arrests and they say they found some cannabis. These after-the-fact assertions should not deter us from posing the questions that come to mind over this whole operation.
The first area of concern is in the behaviour of the Croydon Advertiser. It posted the pictures, saying that they were from a raid on homes where benefit fraud was suspected. They presumably got that information from the police. Which leads us to the second area of concern, which is around the cops. Did the Met lie to the Advertiser about the reason for the raid in the first instance? I think the Advertiser should tell us what they knew before they published the story.
Did the Advertiser go along and take the photos that they published or did they get them from the police? Or alternatively is there a mix of photographs in their report taken by both their own photographer and one from the Met?
At what stage did the Advertiser know that the police were claiming it was a drugs raid and why did the Met wait until it was being heavily criticised before it released that information?
Calling something a drugs raid and claiming that someone involved is an individual with a history of anti-social behaviour is clearly the kind of language to get people to simply say “oh that’s OK then”. But it isn’t, is it? It’s not OK to have the police knocking through doors where children are getting ready for school and where people are only suspected of low level fraud. Only one of the raids apparently had the dual purpose of being a drugs raid; did the other include officers in riot gear?
We haven’t been told the truth about this and there is still information missing. We need to know what was going on and why the story changed.