City MPs have backed an report which found that the police failed to get enough officers onto the streets quickly enough to prevent riots which led to three deaths in Birmingham.
Shabana Mahmood (Lab Ladywood) and Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) both insisted the riots were “pure criminality” and rejected claims that they were
some kind of protest.
But they said that it was also important to ask why some people felt they had “no stake in society”.
They were responding to a report by the Commons Home Affairs Committee into the August riots in cities including Birmingham, London, Manchester and others.
The committee praised the “great bravery” shown by the police, but warned that violence and theft could have been prevented if forces had flooded the streets with officers sooner.
It also said police forces should improve the way they communicate with local businesses, so that they can be warned when trouble is expected.
And the committee said forces needed to rethink the way they dealt with riots, because they were used to dealing with large crowds of people who stayed in one place rather than smaller crowds which moved around.
There were no “clear causes and explanations” for why rioters behaved the way they did, the committee said.
The latest report followed a study published by the London School of Economics earlier this month, which claimed the riots reflected “widespread anger at people’s treatment at the hands of police”.
Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood (Lab), whose constituency includes Dudley Road, where three men died in the early hours of Wednesday August 10, said: “I welcome the findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee, particularly relating to the police response and what worked in quelling the violence. It is clear that lessons must be learned.
“It comes as no surprise that the Committee have concluded that there is little clarity around the causes of the riots. From what I saw in Ladywood my own view remains that the rioting was primarily pure criminality, though other factors played a part. We must continue to ask why a minority have no stake in society and are therefore prepared to cause violence and destruction.”