Police fear further city riots as watchdog predicts more cuts

London riots

Officers warn that if riots break out while London Games are on, they won’t be able to cope

LAST UPDATED AT 14:08 ON Mon 2 Jul 2012

A COMPREHENSIVE review of the rioting that swept England last August published by The Guardian and the London School of Economics reveals that police are expecting there to be a repeat of the disturbances that claimed five lives, saw scores of police and civilians injured, and led to hundreds of millions of pounds of damage.

The Reading the Riots survey has collected evidence from 130 police officers of all ranks who were on duty in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool during the trouble. The view of many of these officers is that worsening social and economic conditions could lead to similar outbreaks of mass illegality.

"I think if you have bad economic times, hot weather, some sort of an event that sets it off... my answer is: yes, it could," a Greater Manchester superintendent told the survey. "Because I don't think anything has changed between now and last August, and the only thing that's different is people have thought: riots are fun."

Much of the evidence gathered highlights the heroism displayed by the rank and file during the riots, with hair-raising tales of under-equipped officers being sent out to subdue large numbers of rioters on the streets. But there is an acknowledgment that some of the tactics deployed - such as the perceived lack of numbers early on in the crisis - were flawed.

One thing that comes up repeatedly is that in the light of government cuts to their numbers, many of these interviewed question whether the police service would now be able to effectively counter widespread disorder, especially if the force as a whole was focusing on other priorities, such as the Olympic Games.

This point is driven home in a report released today by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which says 17,600 police jobs have disappeared since March 2010 and predicts that a further 5,800 frontline positions will disappear from forces across the country over the next three years as Home Office cuts bite harder.

Addressing concerns that the Olympics could see the Metropolitan Police stretched, the chief inspector of constabulary Sir Denis O'Connor said: "There are some reserve proposals in place to deal with the Olympics and the other side of that. If somebody is looking to get frisky on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night then there is provision in hand."

But Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, told the Guardian: "[Reading the Riots] demonstrates what we have been telling the government for two years now; that a 20 per cent budget cut to policing will have a negative impact on public safety and that police numbers really do matter. Officers identify and voice concern that, should the same circumstances occur again, the police service would struggle to cope." · 

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Yes of course the despair and frustration out there will eventually come to a head and drive people to rebel. Good people desperately seeking work being accused of being workshy of being too lazy to work to be abusing the system and claiming benefits. People that are seeing MPs that are earning an excellent salary, cheating on their expenses, pure greed, the latest of course is Banoness Warsi and she has been allowed to get away with cheating on her expenses for £thousands, as were many others before her, businesses making vast profits and putting their money in off shore banks, finding loopholes to dodge the tax man and a P.M. that intends to do nothing at all about it, a P.M. that will cut the benefits irrespective of whether the claimant is lazy or just cannot find work. The corruption that most believe went on between Jeremy Hunt and BSkyB and wondering what has Mr. Cameron got to hide that he could not hold an enquiry. Mr. Cameron constantly taking the electorate for a load of gullible fools. These things add up and as time goes on and there are more and more cuts, more and more people out of work , more and more people struggling to make ends meet, more and more people losing their homes through no fault of their own, of course we can expect riots, the only question is not IF but WHEN. Mr. Cameron has been warned about reducing our police force at a time of much discontent, I only hope that when the police are requested to work overtime to deal with the riots they will remember their colleagues that are now unemployed that have lost their pension and the policemen that have risked their lives to be cast out into the street.

There is somthing wrong with the system. I know someone who's kid found robbers in the home. 4hrs to get to them. Yet same night 20 coppers show up at my home to arest me(i walk with sticks as i have spin deasise) for killing my mother, who was at a 50th brithday party. figure it.

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