A LEWISHAM police officer has spoken of how he defended a retail park against a mob of looters.
On Monday night (August 8), into the early hours of Tuesday morning, Police Constable Gordon Murphy and five other officers were stationed at Bromley Road Retail Park in Catford.
Groups of young people began to gather around the park with what appeared to be the intention to loot it.
PC Gordon described how the group started to grow from around 20 people, eventually up to around 60.
The officers protecting the area used the railings already in place and themselves to create a barricade and prevent the growing mob from moving forward and looting PC World and Currys.
PC Gordon said: “They started to run at us, probably expecting us to run away. Don’t get me wrong, it did cross my mind.”
The mob was throwing missiles including bricks and bottles at the officers who only had two riots shields among them.
PC Gordon added: “We decided to rush back at forty of them and the mad thing is they all ran back.
“I am quite proud to say that we looked after it.”
The mob did not succeed in looting any of the units at the retail park.
Being a member of the Safer Neighbourhood Team and having been stationed at Catford police station for six years, PC Murphy said: “I police the local area. You get to know people and you do get quite protective of your area. You want people to be safe and they get to know you.”
When asked of the reaction he has received from people in the community, the father of one said: “Members of the public have been coming up to us expressing gratitude and support, telling us how much they don’t want to be doing our job.
“They are disgusted by young people’s behaviour. They share the same opinion as any law abiding person does in the UK.”
Speaking at the retail park he protected, PC Gordon said the toughest thing was the tiredness and that having to work 14 hour shifts meant officers were not getting to see their families.
PC Gordon is suffering from a swollen ankle and bruises from the events of Monday night and some of the other officers patrolling the retail park on Monday night received similar injuries.
However, the Catford based officer said his injuries were nothing compared to what other officers across the city would have received.
When his actions were described as heroic, PC Gordon said: “I wouldn’t say heroic because every police officer on the ground in London is doing exactly the same.
“We are protecting people, protecting the public.”