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Effects Of London Riots Criminology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2232 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In august 2011 between 6th and 10th thousands of people in United Kingdom start rioting in several boroughs in London and many cities and towns even. This was began due to protest against the death of a local who was shot dead by police. There were many violence began with policing, destroyed many police vehicles, homes and business of civilians and even magistrates court of London. The results generated were arson, lootings and mass deployment of police. It was said this London riots were organised through mobile devises and other social media, so this is also called as the ‘BlackBerry Riots’. This report is based on the London Riots took place in 2011 in UK and this is addressed by a government advisor as his new assignment. Under this study it was discussed the background of the London riots, the real issue, solutions for the problem and finally provided recommendations for future activities to avoid such violence in London.

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London Riots

Background of the London riots

Several areas of London in August 2011 experienced episodes of large-scale disorder, comprising rioting, violence and looting. The riots spread to other parts of England including Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. After the end of the riots, around 3100 people were arrested by the police where 1000 were charged. It is still remains unclear about the real reason and rational was grounded for these attacks, acts of arson, vandalism and cause death for five people. But it is clearly provide evidence of the power to challenging the authority and mobilized collective effort of people. As per Ryde (2013: p.119) this is a best example of a decline in deference but not one it would seem that has been accompanied by the aspirations, creative consequences or political believes associated with many other uprising or rebellions.

As per Guardians (2013), the London School of Economies says in its report of ‘Reading the Riots’, the reason for these riots is a combination of poor treatments and engagement by the police of communities as well as harsh circumstances in economy and high rates of unemployment. Some interviews of the rioters explained that they were engaged in the riots due to the removal of the education maintenance allowance and the increase in tuition fees. Likewise different people have different reasons for the riots but still they gathered collectively to protest against the authority of England.

Who engaged in riots?

Based on the findings of Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) it was estimated that 13,000-15,000 people were actually involved in the riots, police was arrested nearly 4,000 people where nine out of ten are known by the police with their previous crime records. A total of 945 of the 1483 found guilty and sentenced for average of 14.2 months into jail. During this riots, in total more than 5,000 crimes were committed including 1860 incidents of arson and criminal damages, 141 incidence of disorder, 1649 burglaries, 366 incidents of violence and 5 fatalist deaths. Records indicate the followings;

Majority of those who brought before court were male with previous conviction records.

When it comes to the children, brought before court, tow third of them have special education needs and they are more likely to live in the 10% lowest income areas.

Those children are receiving free meal at schools.

It seems that there is a link between deprivation and the rioting as research findings indicate that 70% of those who brought before court were live in the 30% most deprived areas in the country. Figure 1.1 shows the number of riot-related crimes and deprivation levels in riot-affected local areas and figure 1.2 illustrates the deprivation areas where suspected rioter live.

And also when it comes to unemployment who seek jobs is high among 16-24 years of ages and in riots postcodes the percentage is 7.5 and 6% in non-riot areas.

Figure 1.3 illustrates the comparison of age distribution of suspected rioters and the age distribution of the population of England.


Figure 1.1: The number of riot-related crimes and deprivation levels in riot-affected areas

Source: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Figure 1.2: The deprivation areas where suspected rioter live

Source: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Figure 1.3: The age distribution of suspected rioters and the age distribution of the population of England

Source: Office of National Statistics (2010)

Reasons for riots

According to the report of Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) rioters were not a homogenous group of individuals that all were acting towards a same reason and particular rational. They have different reasons and they acted differently depending on what they want to gain. Based on the research findings this Panel breakdown the people who are presented at the riots as follows;

Organised criminals – these people were often come for the riots from outside the areas where riots occurred.

Late night shoppers – this was categorised the people who deliberately travelled to the sites where riots were taking place in order to burgle

Violent aggressors – these are the individuals who often committed most serious crimes including violent attacks of the police and arson.

Opportunists – people who are drawn into the riots areas with their sense of excitements

Spectators – there are some other category as spectators, people who just came to watch the rioting

Following reasons can be outlines as basic reasons for the riots;

Poor relationship between communities and the police, especially where a ‘stop and search’ occurred

Some are deliberately engages in the riots to loot without any consequences

Some engaged deliberately to attack the police

Researches indicate the basic reason for the riots was the feeling of people who expressed the view that tension between local communities and the police. This is due to the poor relationship and understandings between both the parties about their requirements. There are some other general causes too were outlined by the Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) as bellow;

Poor parenting relationship between children and parents

Feeling of hopelessness by the young generation in many areas

The lack of ambitions, dreams and hopes among people

These studies show some statistical evidence which support for the reasons and major causes of the riots. But, while it has been possible to quickly establish an accurate timeline of the riots as they spread from Tottenham to all other areas of London, and then into number of other cities in England as well, it is much more needed to have more independence concentration on the causes of the community. As indicated by Whitehead and Crawshaw (2012: p.121) the areas where the riots were occurred are not only among the hardest hit by the ongoing economic crisis but also they possess a long record of economic hardships, unemployment and poverty. All of them are large ethnic minority communities who always experience the economic disadvantages and also they have a severe tension with the police and the criminal justice system of the country.

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As per Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) many of the young people who were involved with the riots in 2011, were found that the lack of their hopes and dreams for the future. It is obvious that the unemployment puts them into much more tension and they feel that they do not have a clear path to work and to develop themselves through a career. Riots areas were relatively poor and suffered from higher crimes and lower level of employment than the average. Records indicate that the rioters came for the riots were ranked 69th most deprived by employment, 60th by income. As per London Centre for Social Impact (2013) residents in riots areas also have been expressed their views on the riots and they told that there are too many people who are leading chaotic lives for their neighbours. They also need to see this riots are been punished but meantime they believe that the government should take necessary actions to correct them and ensure that this individuals also take a positive role in society in the future. The reasons that will lead for a poor life outcomes and their relationship can be shown as figure 1.4.


Figure 1.4: Link between factors that can lead to poor life outcomes

Source: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk


To avoid future riots, it can be suggested following activities to ensure and establish community that work;

Where everyone feels that they have a stake in the society

Ensure that everyone respect each other and also the places where they live

Public service should work together with the help of some volunteers to stop those who are struggling at an early stage and assist them to overcome their problems

Employment opportunities should be available adequately to all the people especially for the young generation

The crime justice system also ensure to punish those who are engaged with crimes but meantime they must take steps to correct them to not to do the crimes again

Establish a proper understanding among community and the police where the people and police work together to support the maintenance of the civil and criminal laws, regulations and orders

Ensure a great relationship between parents and children and also schools and children to make sure that the children are developing not only their academic knowledge but also developing skills, values and character behaviours to make right decisions and choices at critical situations.


It was said that the ground reason for this riots was the death of local named Mark Duggan. The problem was with the police in handling this case and also how they communicated the death message to his family which indicated the breakdown of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) protocols. Rumours were rapidly spread telling that the shooting were not conducted effectively and causes for a huge violence among the country.

It is recommended to the police to review their existing protocols to ensure the deliberate false rumours and unintendended inaccuracies do not happens in the future.

Another major cause for the riots was the poor live conditions of the people of the areas where the riots were happened.

Government should take necessary actions to up fill the lives of them. They can take part with business organisations where the young people are provided with employment opportunities. This is the main duty, that to provide employment opportunities for the people. As per Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) the links with the local employers are very poor. It is recommended for the entrepreneurs and businesses that they should work closely with the local schools, volunteers and public to promote youth employment.

Another problem that was raised by the Riots Communities and Victims Panel (2012) that 85% of the people feel that the advertising puts a much more pressure on young people to own latest products and services which actually unaffordable.

It recommended for the government and Advertising Standard Authority to conduct some programmes in schools to make children aware about the impact on advertisements and some branding techniques.

The major cause for the riots in 2011 was the lack of trust and understanding of people about the police. Trust in police is very important for a community and it helps by;

Leading them getting more involved with police

Ensure the police can understand the needs of community and vice versa.

Help to break down the cultural barriers

Community is willing to support police by reporting crimes.

It is recommended that the police should engage proactively with the community regarding the issues that might impact on integrity. And also they should improve the quality of minority to improve the relationship with community.


Riots happened in London in 2011 was a major issue that cause many damages to public, businesses, police and local government. This brief report was based on the 2011 London riots to address the overall picture of what has been happened and what the impacts for the society. Records indicate that many who involved with the riots are for areas who suffered long term by the economic disadvantages and unemployment issues. This may caused for a poor life style of those communities and caused for a huge riots which occurred for 5 days in England. This report discussed the reasons for the riot, parties involved with the riots and provide some solutions for the issues identified through Panel reports and other survey researches. Finally recommendations were made for the government and other local parties based on the findings and observations to overcome the issues and for the future actions.


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