A call for a dedicated police team for Mitcham town centre has been made by MP Siobhain McDonagh.

She said a ‘toxic mix’  of betting shops and places selling alcohol has made the town centre a magnet for anti-social behaviour and street drinking.

The Mitcham and Morden MP of more than 20 years said shoppers are now avoiding the town centre all together.

“Fewer people want to use the town centre therefore there is more space for the people not behaving well,” said Ms McDonagh.

“We have noticed it for quite a long time – it is one of those things that has always been a bit of a problem.”

The MP said she thinks the problem is made worse by there not being a police team based in the town centre.

“There used to be a designated town centre policing team there but there is not now,” she said.

“The town centre is split between two wards, Figges Marsh and Cricket Green.

“I think part of the solution would be having a dedicated team in Mitcham town centre.”

RELATED: Mitcham town centre ‘completely taken over by street drinkers’ as police struggle to cope

Back in July the MP, who lives in Colliers Wood, organised a public meeting on the topic which was attended by Sophie Linden, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime.

Ms McDonagh said: “Hundreds of people came to St Mark’s Primary School, it was packed. There was standing room only.

“We need community support for this. I think everybody that came to our meeting was shocked at the numbers of people that turned up.

“Police said they were shocked at the number of people, because they do not get that number of complaints.

“But people think nothing will happen so they just stop using the town centre instead.”

Last month, police licensing officer Russ Stevens told a Merton Council licensing committee that benches under the clock tower has been “completely taken over by street drinkers” with problems including urinating in the street and the verbal abuse of passers by.

He said it is a problem police can’t get on top of and advised the council not to grant any more licences to sell alcohol in the area.

He said the worst incident linked to alcohol was a fatal stabbing in May.

About the killing, Ms McDonagh said: “I think it brought home to people some of the seriousness – it was a shock into action.

“We don’t want to become blase about it and just think that there’s nothing that can be done.”

But a spokesman for Metropolitan Police said there are no plans to create a policing team just covering Mitcham town centre.