The Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Dave Musker, has asked us to pass on a message to everyone concerned about a number of reported incidents of attempted child abduction outside schools in recent days. The message is reproduced in full below and was dated 16 May:
I wanted to send a brief update regarding two recent incidents to clear up any rumour and speculation and so that you can also advise your local communities of the situation.
We received a report last week of an incident near to Smitham Primary School at approximately 15:15hrs on Thursday 9 May, in Chipstead Valley Road. An 11 year-old girl was approached by a white man in a black vehicle who asked her to get in the vehicle. The girl refused and walked away and was picked up shortly after by her father and they then contacted police a while after. My detectives are currently investigating this incident and officers from the Coulsdon Safer Neighbourhoods Teams have visited local schools in the area to make them aware and have been carrying out additional patrols near schools at the beginning and end of the day.
It is important to note that this incident is not being linked to a separate attempted abduction, which took place in Beddington, Sutton on Sunday 12 May. Sutton detectives are investigating this incident, and further details, if you wish to see them are available here on the Sutton police website here.
We also received a call this morning (16 May) from a member of the public alerting us to a vehicle outside a primary school in Dinsdale Gardens, South Norwood. Officers attended, but the vehicle had left the scene before they arrived. Whilst we are making relevant enquiries into the vehicle and the owner etc. I can state that this was not an attempted abduction - none of the persons in the vehicle are said to have approached or spoken to any children.
I would ask you to pass this message on to you friends and communities so that they can be clear as to what has happened. I would also ask that people remain calm, remain vigilant and that if you do see any suspicious activity or people, then call 999.
Croydon Borough Commander