Croydon riots 10 years on: Risks greater now than in 2011

Croydon, August 8, 2011: the conditions which led to the riots are worse now than 10 years ago

The key risk factors which led to rioting in Croydon and across the country 10 years ago are “even greater today than in 2011”, leaving London at risk of riots.

That’s according to a review by Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Croydon North and Labour’s frontbench spokesperson for local government and communities.

Reed’s review was published this week, the 10th anniversary of the riots which left many areas devastated and scarred by the arson and looting that occurred. Croydon erupted into a night of civil disorder on August 8, 10 years ago today.

The rioting had begun in Tottenham and spread across London and the country. Afterwards, the Tory-led government commissioned a Riots, Communities and Victims Panel, with Darra Singh as the independent chair.

Singh’s panel delivered a report in 2012 with 63 recommendations.

According to Labour, in the decade since the riots, Conservative governments have managed to implement just 11 of those recommendations. Singh has described the last 10 years as a “wasted decade of opportunity”.

MP Steve Reed OBE: the police are ‘on the frontline of social failure’

Further, Reed’s review has found that the number of “forgotten families” identified by Singh’s panel in 2012,  where many of the rioters came from, has doubled in the past decade.

“Our city has been through a lot since the disorder of summer 2011,” said Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, “and there is no escaping the reality that some of the complex and entrenched causes of the riots – inequality, poverty, lack of opportunity and the need for better relations between our police and London’s diverse communities – remain.

“It’s crucial we tackle these challenges head on by advocating for increased funding and support to help regenerate the most deprived parts of our city.”

The police are struggling to connect with black and disadvantaged communities because they are “on the frontline of social failure”, Reed said. He blames drastic Tory cuts to policing, which saw 20,000 officers taken off the force across the country in the years following the riots.

Riots concern: Reed and the panel at the launch of his review in West Croydon this week

Reed said police officers face a much tougher role “because if you take away social workers, family intervention, if you take away youth workers, the police force are left to pick up the consequences of that.

“Police are having to pick up the pieces of those services being taken away.

“My borough of Croydon went up in flames 10 years ago. Yet funding for those services have been cut by 76 per cent in 10 years.

“Fewer police have been left to deal with the consequences of public failures, and that does have a direct relationship on their ability to connect to their community that they’d be able to do if they had the proper resources behind them.”

Read more: Croydon riots 10 years on: A decade of missed opportunity
Read more: Croydon riots 10 years on: ‘I was in real fear for my family’
Read more: Croydon riots 10 years on: Arson land put up for sale at £2m

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4 Responses to Croydon riots 10 years on: Risks greater now than in 2011

  1. I think Reed is wrong about future riots in Croydon. It’s crude political scaremongering.

    But if there was unrest in our borough, it would be as a result of the financial collapse Reed singularly and monumentally failed to see and then completely fucked up in his response to.

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    Nice report filed under the ”blindingly obvious”

    Residents have expectations of levels of services – not unreasonable ones and a lot less than one would expect considering the hyperbole of local and Central Politicians. However we are talking basic services here for communities to function that are not even getting life support.

    For both Council and Police to state this is the standard and fail to meet or come even close to actually doing anything is not an acceptable answer to the residents made victims by their failures.
    Complaining about resource is not a valid reason at this stage when so much money has been given to them already and wasted.

    Many residents from all walks of life who have had police (and council) non responses and non action and excuses after being victims of crimes both civil and criminal or random perverse planning decision and developer/landlord actions, not just once but multiple times, no longer engage at all as it is a waste of time for them. More to the point – raising matters with the Police and the Council engenders victimisation, abuse, assault and anti social behavior regularly – again with no apparent prevention from either Council or Police.

    Many of these people are ones that actually engage in the community and make things work after Council and Police failures. They have dealt with having their support resource and assistance removed by cuts and failures and continued- but now are asking why? Why keep putting ourselves out to assist and face the repeated obstructions from those bodies?

    This exacerbates an already bad situation. So when these residents stop calling both police and council and instead raise complaints also – exactly how does the Leaders of the Council, the Police and yes Councillors expect to regain that value and engagement after such random abandonment of large numbers of people that are law abiding and actively help the communities they live in?

    Mr Reed is quite correct. However they may find it is not just Black and disadvantaged people the Police and Council are struggling with.

  3. Colin Cooper says:

    It’s very noticeable that Mr Reed carefully glosses over the simple fact that in Croydon the Labour Party have been responsible not only for a considerable level of major funding cutbacks but also for achieving the nigh impossible task of actually bankrupting an entire Borough. Well done chaps and chapesses!

  4. It’s probably not appropriate to post a link here, especially to the Torygraph, but they ran a pretty incisive piece focussing on the Reeve family whose store was torched and looted. This extract is illustrative ‘One local customer, who like many others in the Windrush generation had valued the store because it was among the first to offer Hire Purchase terms to Afro-Caribbean families when others were refusing them, turned up days after the fire to present them with a hand-made embroidery, completed despite her crippling arthritis, of the domed and now burnt-out store at Reeves Corner.

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