Dear Editor, Throw a party? Are they mad? (Stop riots by holding a DJ party next time, Post February 9)
Where do these people come from? Are we going to have a stand-by disco ready to swing into action with a lorry load of bottles of water following? Then, of course, there are barriers and security staff needed.
So can you imagine every major city standing by with a road-ready disco? And how much are we paying this expert to come up with this rubbish?
The rioting wasn’t about the shooting of a man in London. It wasn’t about no work, and it wasn’t about slapping your children, and there was no organised crime or gang-oriented looting.
This was opportunist theft. The problem is that now the gangs have a blueprint for organised looting and they know that the police resources can be pushed to breaking point.
Most dangerous of all, the next riots will be organised.
Get real and understand that locking up people for a pair of left-footed trainers hasn’t solved the problem, it’s just destroyed a person’s life where a caution would have been suffice.
The law has been disproportionate by punishing “looters” as against corrupt MPs and peers, and now has turned many of these young people into another generation of bitter citizens.
If we want law on the streets then make it a place where people respect it. Flash-mob parties are not the solution and locking up kids not the answer, give the kids proper jobs with a future and you’ve got a chance. Treat them as idiots and you’ve got a riot.
Dear Editor, I read the report by Professor Peter Latchford – a visiting professor at Birmingham City University – with considerable interest but was exceedingly dissatisfied with its findings.
I take, as example, the first three “early recommendations” which I follow with comments:
Develop a comprehensive approach to neighbourhood self-policing.
There is no mention in the report that what happened in Birmingham was fuelled by the same fires of discontent that started the riots in the first place in London: a long history of police racism and the recent and significantly rising levels of youth unemployment with levels now reaching over one in five 16 to 24 year-olds with no hope for further jobs for the young (or the currently unemployed of other ages). This is soon to be followed by public service cuts.
Ministry of Justice figures revealed almost two?thirds (64 per cent) of the young rioters lived in the poorest areas and 42 per cent relied on free school meals.
If these are the factors that led to the riots nationwide, why can’t a city such as Birmingham seek to develop strategies that are supportive of young people, that give them hope by offering them real jobs and real training?
Why can’t the city of Birmingham do more than focus its energy on developing more effective strategies for containment if/when this kind of things happens again?
Prepare to distract as well as react. Tighten up police/council working as a cooperation of equals.
Why distract or react—why not be proactive and address the factors that caused the riot?
Prepare for a more proactive management of a balanced crisis story.
Is it just a story we want to be proactive about – or should we pro-actively help young people get a future?
Dr Joyce E Canaan,
Professor of Sociology
Birmingham City University