Daily Archives: August 9, 2011

A Reason to Riot?

I have been following the news of the riots in London closely.  My younger sister still lives there and this morning on BBC News I saw that the riots have now moved into her area.  Click here to see the news clip.

It appears that the rioting started because a policeman shot dead a young man.  Apparently, this was during a Stop and Search of a car when a policeman who said he feared for his life on seeing a gun on the seat, shot the man.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this are – is this cause for a riot?  Surely people/friends should be showing support for the young man’s family.  The policeman will also need support during this tragic time.

And from what can be seen in the clip, these rioters are not rioting in support of the family of the young man, for a cause or for a belief but purely for the sake of vandalism.

I lived in Montreal in the late 1960s when the police went on strike and I saw the same kind of vandalism then.  What does this achieve?  Very frightened ordinary citizens trying to go about their normal business.  And a massive amount of clearing up to do after the riots end.

When speaking to my sister this morning  (9pm their time) I could clearly hear the sound of the helicopters hovering overhead.  So close to where she lives.  And so frightening that the area has been locked down.  While there is not a curfew as such, people have been warned to stay indoors and to keep doors and windows locked.  Is this any way to live?

And how will it end?  What are these people hoping to achieve?  And what comes next?

Questions most of us have no way of answering.

** Why do the police in London use stop and search?

The use of stop and search powers allow the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and to prevent more serious crimes occurring.

Generally, stop and search happens in public places – in the area around football matches, for example, or in neighbourhoods that have been experiencing problems with crime or vandalism.

The police have the legal right to stop members of the public and search them for a variety of reasons and using a number of powers, including :

  • Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, gives police the right to search people in a defined area at a specific time when they believe, with good reason, that: there is the possibility of serious violence; or that a person is carrying a dangerous object or offensive weapon; or that an incident involving serious violence has taken place and a dangerous instrument or offensive weapon used in the incident is being carried in the locality. This law has to be authorised by a senior officer and is used mainly to tackle football hooliganism and gang fights.

Across London, you may encounter three different police forces, the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and the British Transport Police. Officers from these three forces, at various times, work together on specific crime and terrorist operations.

Source Metropolitan Police – click here for more details.

This wasn’t the post I had intended for today, but I just couldn’t ignore what was happening.