Committee announce inquiry into policing large-scale disorder

15 August 2011

The Home Affairs Committee is holding an inquiry into the lessons that may be learned from the wide-scale rioting and looting by predominantly young people in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities in August 2011

In particular, the Committee is interested in:

  • Police relations with the communities where violence took place before the riots, including similarities with and differences from previous public disorder events:
  • The role of social media in spreading disorder and in the response to it;
  • The role of organised groups in promoting disorder;
  • The role of the IPCC, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, and ACPO/NPIA public order guidance;
  • The techniques used by the police to quell the rioting, including: a) Decisions taken over the deployment of police officers (availability of officers, response times), b) The use of standard techniques: containment, dispersal, specialist public order officers, dogs, horses, c) The deployment of non-standard techniques: armoured police cars, baton rounds, water cannon, curfews
  • Variations in the responses of different police forces;
  • Lessons to be learned from the police response to previous public disorder incidents;
  • Training of officers to deal with riots;
  • Whether there were any constraints on the police such as limited resources or powers;
  • Whether there should be any changes to the legislation regulating normal policing processes during times of major disorder;
  • Whether the age of many of the rioters constrained the police in their use of anti-riot technique;
  • The application of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886; and
  • To revisit relevant recommendations made in previous Home Affairs Committee reports into Policing the G20 protests and Knife crime, and other relevant recommendations, to assess if they have been implemented by successive governments.

Call for evidence

Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Friday 9 September 2011. Submissions must be no longer than 2,500 words.

Oral evidence sessions will be held: further announcements will be made in due course.

Committee Chairman Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP said:

"The Committee will begin an inquiry with a view to try and find out why these terrible sets of events have occurred and what steps will be taken to prevent this happening again.

Given that these matters are still ongoing it is important to give the police all the resources and powers they need. It is also clear that high police visibility has made a huge difference. The Committee hopes to be able to produce an informed response to enable Parliament to decide what further changes to law it requires. We will be meeting with Acting Commissioner Godwin at Scotland Yard next week".

Image: iStockphoto

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