PRESS RELEASE: PUBLICATION OF REPORT – POLICING LARGE-SCALE DISORDER: LESSONS FROM THE DISTURBANCES OF AUGUST 2011

Home Affairs Committee

16 December 2011

For Immediate Release: News Desks, Political, Home Affairs Correspondents

PUBLICATION OF REPORT – POLICING LARGE-SCALE DISORDER: LESSONS FROM THE DISTURBANCES OF AUGUST 2011

PRESS RELEASE
Not to be published or broadcast in any form before 00.01 on Monday 19 December 2011

Committee concludes – Police failed to appreciate magnitude of riot task.

The Home Affairs Committee publishes its report into the August riots today. The Committee concluded:

• What ultimately worked in quelling the disorder was increasing the number of police officers on duty and flooding the streets with police. The Committee regrets that this did not happen and regards the operation to police the disorder in many towns and cities, and particularly in London, as flawed.
• Although all the events are grouped together in the public mind as the “August riots”, they were different phenomena in different cities and even in different parts of the same city, making it difficult to draw generalised conclusions.
• The single most important reason why the disorder spread was the perception, relayed by television as well as social media, that in some areas the police had lost control of the streets.
• Some of those who took part in the disturbances undoubtedly did use social media to communicate with each other, but television also played a part in spreading the disorder.
• The death of Mark Duggan was a significant factor in the disorder that took place in Tottenham. A potentially tense situation was made worse by failures of communication on the part of the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
• All police forces should have a communication strategy in place so that if it is decided that there is a credible threat of severe public disorder, all business in the affected area are given early and consistent advice about what action they should take. This did not happen in August.
• The Government should urgently clarify whether police authorities will be able to recover the total cost of policing the riots. The August disturbances were an exceptional series of events and, at a time when police authorities are being asked to make significant savings quickly, they should be assisted in meeting the cost of the policing operation.
• The victim’s surcharge, which is currently payable at a flat rate of £15, should be reviewed to consider whether it should be increased for public order incidents where the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 could be invoked.
• The Government should speed up the process of reimbursing people under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886.
• The Committee commended police forces that made positive use of social media to inform and reassure the public during the disorder.
• It would be unhelpful to switch off social media during times of widespread and serious disorder.

Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

“Individual police officers acted with great bravery, and we commend them for their actions. However, 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. This situation might have been avoided had police appreciated the magnitude of the task.
We urgently require a rapid improvement in police training to deal with public disorder. We urge the police to act more quickly in future and to review the arrangements for loaning officers from one force to another in this type of scenario.

The death of Mark Duggan was a significant factor in the disorder that took place in Tottenham. A potentially tense situation was made worse by failures of communication on the part of the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. This was preventable and led to ‘copy-cat riots’.
For those who lost their homes and businesses, the state effectively ceased to exist—sometimes for hours at a time. This is an utterly unacceptable situation and should never occur again. We must ensure these innocent bystanders receive the payments they are entitled to under the Riot (Damages) Act.”

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Committee Membership is as follows:
Rt. Hon Keith Vaz (Chair) (Labour) (Leicester East) Nicola Blackwood (Conservative) (Oxford West and Abingdon) Mr James Clappison (Conservative) (Hertsmere) Michael Ellis (Conservative) (Northampton North) Lorraine Fullbrook (Conservative) (South Ribble) Dr Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrat) (Cambridge) Steve McCabe (Labour) (Birmingham Selly Oak) Rt. Hon Alun Michael (Labour & Co-operative) (Cardiff South and Penarth) Bridget Phillipson (Labour) (Houghton and Sunderland South) Mark Reckless (Conservative) (Rochester and Strood) David Winnick (Labour) (Walsall North)
Specific Committee Information: homeaffcom@parliament.uk 020 7219 3276 Media Information: Alex Paterson patersona@parliament.uk 020 7219 1589; Sneha Patel in Mr Vaz’s office
07800 976308 sneha.patel@parliament.uk Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/homeaffairscom Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: http://www.parliamentlive.tv
Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on http://www.parliament.uk

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~ by jonathanure on December 22, 2011.

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