UK MPs slam police riot response

2011-12-19 18:33
London - A failure of police tactics during England's riots in August caused the unrest to escalate into the worst for a generation, British lawmakers said in a report published on Monday.

The impression that police had lost control, particularly in London, encouraged rioters to go on a spree of looting and vandalism over four nights, said the report from the cross-party home affairs committee.

"In London and other areas, in contrast with the effectiveness of police responses in some towns and cities, there was a failure of police tactics," said opposition Labour party MP Keith Vaz, the committee chair.

"This situation might have been avoided had police appreciated the magnitude of the task," he added.

Police have already faced criticism over their response to the initial outbreak of violence in the north London district of Tottenham on August 6, which was sparked by a fatal police shooting.

Inadequate system

Officers appeared to pull back and the lawmakers said this initial reluctance to confront the rioters encouraged the spread of copycat unrest to other cities, causing widespread destruction and five deaths.

"The single most important reason why the disorder spread was the perception, relayed by television as well as new social media, that in some areas the police had lost control of the streets," the report said.

The report, Policing Large-Scale Disorder: Lessons from the Disturbances of August 2011, also criticised police for a catalogue of other failures.

These included failing to quickly flood the streets with large numbers of officers, not giving businesses in affected areas early and consistent advice, and an inadequate system for loaning officers between forces.

Debate has raged about the underlying reasons for the unrest, but the committee admitted it could shed no new light on the issue.

"Unlike some events in the past, including riots in the 1980s, there does not seem to be any clear narrative, nor a clear element of protest or clear political objectives," it said.

A spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers said the report had identified issues that needed to be addressed by police reforms currently under discussion.
Read more on:    uk riots

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.