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.











26 responses to “A Reason to Riot?

  1. It is really scary to be living in an area where these events are taking place. Maureen said that the police had been watching the young man who was killed and the area he came from. This was not an ordinary stop and search. The lowlifes that are looting and setting fire to buildings and cars have nothing to do with this mans family they are just vandals,


  2. I don’t understand the rioting either. It makes no sense to me.


  3. These stories break my heart. I don’t understand. Moreover, I don’t think the rioters understand. The rioter are destroying their own community. Their own hands are tearing their own town apart. Why don’t rioters – in general – understand that fact?


    • I really think they are very disturbed young men (in general they appear to be men) who are frustrated and are looking for any outlet to vent their frustration. And of course, it is very close to home with my sister and her family all living in the area.


  4. These hooligans who are rioting are just looting and causing vandalism. They have no sympathy for the young man who was killed. The police and the firefighters have quite a job on their hands. I will keep your sister in my prayers. Let’s hope this behavior will be over soon.


    • Thank you friend for the comment re keeping my sister in your prayers. As she says above, it is really scary to be living in an area where these events are taking place. 🙂


  5. I”m sorry your sister’s having to experience this. On a much smaller scale it’s one of the reasons I wanted to get away from London – rioting gangs, crime and more. However, it’s not just happening in London. It seems the youths involved in this are tweeting to others all across the UK and there are outbreaks all over the place. Many parts of London: Hackney that you’ve mentioned, also Ealing, Lewisham, Clapham, Enfield, the list goes on and on. And there are outbreaks in Birmingham and Liverpool…

    I can’t see what’s going to stop this except perhaps the army. I think eventually they’ll have to call them in, as it doesn’t seem like the police force will be enough (though I may be wrong). As usual the politicians are blaming each other and not addressing the issue of what’s actually happening and how to stop it.

    What do they hope to achieve? I suspect that all they hope to achieve is their twisted idea of ‘fun’.
    Hopefully it’ll end with all the perpetrators in prison, but I somehow doubt it.


    • Well when I was in Montreal the Mounties were called in to quell the rioters. I agree with you in that it appears the police are powerless to stop them and maybe the army is the answer.
      It’s such a worrying time for everybody in the UK. I trust that your little corner is safe.


  6. There are about 30 independent municipalities in Miami Dade County. The largest police force covers the county’s unincorporated areas. The largest municipality is the City of Miami proper.This past year they have shot and killed 7 men all black and all under the most questionable circumstances. That does not include incidents from all the other police departments. We can expect to be victimized by police as well as by the thugs that rule the night. The incident you describe would be newsworthy here for about two days.


    • Isn’t it so very frightening that our world appears to have been totally taken over by these young hooligans?
      I am sorry to read that your police force have killed so many in a year. Are they targetting young black men, or is that just my twisted mind at work? From all that we read it appears that in many places in your country, equality between black and white still is far from being achieved. When, where will it all end.


  7. I’m sorry to hear your sister lives in the midst of this. My prayers are with her family, too, and that the violence will end quickly. I certainly don’t understand this mentality, of destroying one’s neighborhood; but many times over here, looting and vandalism follow natural disasters.


    • We all struggle to understand a mentality that vandalizes for the sake of it. I wonder if these people have nothing in their lives and nothing to look forward to. We have somehow, somewhere taken a wrong step that this kind of act is rife in so many parts of the world. I wonder where it will lead and where/when it will end.


      • Judith I’m afraid you have made the key point–I heard a report on national radio about how the rioters are all “marginalised” and this is their anger spilling out. Thuggery is thuggery no matter how marginalised you are, but I’m afraid that this sort of thing could really get out of hand with unemployed or aggrieved people joining in like they did in Greece. And if it came to something like what happened in Egypt how would the British government react?


  8. Christine in Los Angeles

    We had a similar situation in Los Angeles – rioting after a ‘not guilty’ verdict for policemen accused of savagely beating a young man. But, as in UK, the rioters were not demonstrating in support of this young man & his family, they just grabbed an opportunity to vandalize local shops and businesses, and seized the chance to steal merchandise.
    Marianne, be safe. God bless, Christine


    • I remember the case – was it the Rodney King verdict? As Thomas says above, thuggery is thuggery and if you have seen an interview with a woman from Tottenham, she makes allowances for them because they are marginalized and have no futures. Is this a reason to behave like untamed beasts?


  9. Hi Thomas
    It appears that the police aren’t able to take control and maybe it is time for the army to get involved.
    The fact that these hooligans are marginalised is not excuse for vandalism and have they given any thought to the people whose homes have been burnt and shops have been looted and set fire. Just what do they think they are achieving>


  10. its horrible to be so close to it. my boyfriends home is in the centre and his street has been closed off and other friends are having issues. lets just hope a stop is put to the violence soon


  11. jacquelincangro

    I was just having this same conversation with a co-worker. I don’t understand why people think that violence is the answer to violence. It’s not going to bring that poor boy back and it’s only hurting other people. Setting fire to buildings and looting in your community only hurts the businesses and owners and employees. There becomes a mob mentality.


  12. W aching the TV coverage it is clear that this is vandalism for its own sake. It achieves nothing but more heartache and loss for everybody.


  13. Pingback: STOP THE RIOT’S « A World of Inspiration and a little extra!

  14. I’ve been watching and reading up on the events in Tottenham… It’s all very sad and I do hope the rioting and aggression which has spread to other areas in the UK come to an end.
    While some rioters have jumped on the bandwagon for the sole purpose of looting, there is still a lot of rage around the unequal and discriminatory practices that have gone on in those areas for decades.
    Violence is not the answer and my prayer is that a new dialogue and effort will be made to correct the ills that have persisted in depressed communities throughout the UK. Also my condolences go out to Duncan’s family… Compassion is much needed in our world today.


    • I think we all condemn the violence and vandalism but must remember the families who have lost loved ones or who have been hurt in some other way by this.


  15. That was meant to say Duggan’s family…


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