Croydon community team take on Met for match of the season

A Croydon community team came head to head with Met officers at the Crystal Palace FC training ground for an annual football match to honour late Sergeant Matt Ratana and strengthen community relationships.

Sergeant Ratana was shot and killed in Croydon custody centre in September 2020.

Players representing the Croydon community team on February 2, included representatives from grassroots organisations Project 4 Youth Empowerment (P4YE), Finesse Forever and Mentivity, as well as community leaders of the My Ends Project and young people from across the borough.

The game finished with the Croydon team triumphing over the Met with a seven-to-three result.

Anthony King (right) of My Endz at the match (Picture: The Met)

Anthony King, from the My Ends Project in Croydon, said: “We attended the match to not only honour the life of the community officer Sergeant Matt Ratana, but to re-establish the great relationship that the Croydon community has with the Met. 

“Our relationship with the Met is intentional. We are all committed to seeing a change and breaking down the barriers between the young black community and the police. 

“Some of our young people who engage regularly with the police played on behalf of Croydon. 

The line-up at the Matt Ratana cup match with the Croydon community team in orange (Picture: The Met)

“Initiatives such as this is a great way of having those meaningful conversations and bringing the communities closer together.” 

The My Ends programme supports various organisations which aim to steer young people away from knife crime.

The Met also works with partners like Mainzworld and P4YE in Croydon, to tackle youth violence and knife crime, running joint patrols and supporting young people away from violence. 

MainzWorld, based in Mitcham Road, Croydon, runs prevention and intervention programmes for children and young people including a partnership with Croydon-based record label FF, which offers free music business courses to support young people.

The game finished with the Croydon team triumphing over the Met with a seven-to-three result (Picture: The Met)

Police Constable, Rick Flynn, youth engagement officer for Croydon, said: “The annual community cup match is in remembrance of Sergeant Matt Ratana who was a great figure within the community and loved sport. 

“To make a difference and police Croydon effectively, collaborative working with partners is crucial. 

“Improving trust and rebuilding confidence is important to us, and we will continue to maintain this by updating the community on our work, and policing issues that may affect them to ensure we are making real impact and change. 

“We will also continue to work towards developing innovative ways to keep residents safe and divert youths from street violence and violent crime.” 

Louis de Zoysa, 25, from Surrey, who shot and killed Sgt Ratana in Croydon Custody Centre in September 2020, was given a whole life order in July – meaning he will never leave prison.

De Zoyza was arrested in September 2020, in London Road, Norbury, and taken to the Croydon Custody Centre where officers failed to find an antique revolver which he had legally purchased over the internet.

De Zoyza managed to get hold of the gun and let off four shots, one hitting New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana who had been a Met officer for almost 30 years in the chest and another in the leg.

The inquest found there were failures by the police force in the searching and observations of De Zoysa after his arrest.

Pictured top: Croydon community team members come head to head with Met officers at the Matt Ratana cup

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