The England 2011 Riots – When Britain Descended Into Anarchy


10 YEARS AGO ON 4TH AUGUST 2011 THE SHOOTING OF MARK DUGGAN A LOCAL TOTTENHAM RESIDENT, WHO POLICE HAD BEEN BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN ARMED, LED TO THE WORST INCIDENTS OF PUBLIC DISORDER, LOOTING & ANARCHY EVER WISNESSED IN THE UK. IT CULMINATED WITH THE LOSS OF LIFE AND EVENTUAL SENTENCING OF THOUSANDS OF RIOTERS

The 2011 England riots, more widely known as the London riots, were a series of riots between 6 and 11 August 2011. Thousands of people rioted in cities and towns across England, which saw looting, arson, as well as mass deployment of police and the deaths of five people.

The protests initially started in Tottenham Hale, London, following the death of Mark Duggan, a local man who was shot dead by police on 4 August. Due to the local Police in Tottenham refusing to provide information as to the shooting of Mr Duggan’s family (this was due to an ongoing live investigation by the IPCC at the time).

Mr Duggan had been under investigation by Police from “Operation Trident” and it was believed he had been sold a BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun by Kevin Hutchinson Foster (who later was found guilty of supplying a handgun)

Several violent clashes with police followed Duggan’s death, along with the destruction of police vehicles, a double-decker bus and many homes and businesses, which rapidly gained the attention of the media. Overnight, looting took place in Tottenham Hale retail park and in nearby Wood Green. The following days saw similar scenes in other parts of London, with the worst rioting taking place in Hackney, Brixton, Walthamstow, Peckham, Enfield, Battersea, Croydon, Ealing, Barking, Woolwich, Lewisham and East Ham.

From 8 to 11 August, other towns and cities in England (including Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton) saw what was described by the media as “copycat violence”, with social media playing a role, and in particular messaging services such as Blackberry being used to rally and orchestrate similar rioting and protests. By 10 August, more than 3,003 arrests had been made across England, with more than 1,984 people issued with criminal charges for various offences related to the riots.

 Initially, courts sat for extended hours. There were a total of 3,443 crimes across London that were linked to the disorder.

Public disorder took place in 5 London Areas, and later across the UK in copycat behaviour

Along with the five deaths, at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity – which in many cases was already struggling due to the recession – was significantly compromised.

The riots generated significant debate among political, social, and academic figures about their causes and context. Attributions for the rioters’ behaviour included social factors such as racial tension, class tension, economic decline, and the unemployment that decline had brought

Many saw an opportunity to Loot businesses, with the total cost of the destruction of property to have been around £200 Million

The Political Reaction to the Riots

Following the initial disorder in Tottenham, the constituency Labour MP David Lammy appealed for calm, saying that “true justice can only follow a thorough investigation of the facts” and that Tottenham had had its “heart ripped out” by the riots. He said that rioters were not representative of the local community as a whole and insisted that the Independent Police Complaints Commission must fully establish the circumstances of Mark Duggan’s death.

Lammy voiced concerns that the EDL and BNP were playing on the London riots and people’s fears to advance their political motives.

Streatham’s Labour MP Chuka Umunna condemned the violence in Brixton and Tottenham. Umunna called for the BlackBerry Messenger service, used by some of the rioters to coordinate their activities, to be “temporarily disabled” between 6 pm and 6 am.

In December 2010 Theresa May, the Home Secretary, had said that the deployment of water cannon by police forces on the British mainland was an operational decision which had been “resisted until now by senior police officers.”

On 9 August 2011, May rejected their use and said: “The way we police in Britain is not through the use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through the consent of communities.”

Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, said “The issue of water cannon would be very useful given the level of arson we are seeing here.” Scotland Yard said officers did not have any water cannon and if their use was approved they would have to be brought over from Northern Ireland.

May said: “I condemn utterly the violence in Tottenham… Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated, and the Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order.

The investigation by the IPCC later found that the officers involved in shooting Mark Duggan had not in any acted with any misconduct in a trial hearing in 2014

The recent BBC documentary “The 2011 Riots – One week in August” interviewed Police and enforcement agencies, involved in dealing with the rioters, but even speaks to some of the rioters involved and onlookers of the riots that took place

Information Sources: Ciceros, Wikipedia & IPCC

Film: BBC2 Documentary “One Week In August”

BBC 2 “The England Riots: One Week in August “

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