Thursday, 11 August 2011

Why are we all experts in rioting?

Over the past few days every one of us has been disturbed and angered by the riots and civil disturbances that have been taking place throughout our country.

The actions of a mindless minority are abhorrent to every right thinking person and of course tough police action is required to bring any incidents under control.

But, why all of a sudden has everyone turned into an expert on rioting?

If you read any social media, particularly at the riots seeming nadir on Monday night, everyone was espousing the use of water canon, rubber bullets and armed forces.

I must confess I know absolutely nothing about police tactics.

That is what senior police officers are for and I would support them completely in knowing what is best for dealing with a mob.

For example, I didn't see any reports of them using kettling techniques which suggested to me at least that they determined such methods were not suitable in these circumstances.

What we have seen over the past days and nights are very concerned people desperate for the problems to be resolved swiftly and a heavy police presence over the past two nights has rightfully been used to achieve this.

Hopefully, after two relatively quieter nights, we are now over the worst of the incidences and parliament is recalled today to debate the matter.

Now is the time to be rational.

Tough policing is a fundamental part of ensuring we do not see these incidents recur.

But we must not forget that these events are part of a wider problem of an ever increasing underclass who are completely disenfranchised from normal society.

The individuals carrying out these riots see criminality as normal.

Of course a considerable reason for this is about upbringing and living conditions otherwise why didn't we see riots in the likes of Epsom or Alderley Edge or Coalville for that matter?

We must now reflect on what can be done to address this? What can be done to educate? What can be done to ensure these people in the future can participate in a civilised society?

Our society works only through consensus in the power of law, after all can we really afford to have 16,000 police officers on the streets of London every night? How do we ensure that those outside of that consensus are embraced into the norm?

I don't know the answers but my suspicion is that tough law and order isn't the only answer.

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