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ACTION NOW! Riots report urges quick reforms.

Byline: EXAMINER News Correspondent

THE perception that police "could not contain" the initial riots in London led to further disturbances across the country, an independent report has found.

The report also warned that more riots are likely to happen unless urgent action is taken.

Darra Singh, chairman of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel, said in a news conference: "Our findings support the view that had the police response in Tottenham and more widely in London been more robust, the riots would not have spread elsewhere in England.

"Our research has also led us to conclude that riots of this nature will happen again unless immediate action is taken and we set out a number of recom-mendations in our report."

The interim report from the panel detailed the "sometimes horrifying and tragic" accounts of people's experiences of the disturbances.

The study found there was no one single motivating factor for the riots.

"We heard a range of motivations from the need for new trainers to a desire to attack society," it said.

The report recommended that police authorities should "immediately" review their emergency plans to ensure they properly cover public disorder on the scale of the August riots.

Other recommendations included an overhaul of the 1886 Riot Damages Act to ensure that victims of the riots receive compensation quickly.

The panel had not heard from anyone who had received a payment under the Act, with forecasts that by March 2012 "barely half" of the smallest and only one in 10 of the largest claims will have been paid.

The report called for the insurance industry to tackle cases where service has been poor.

It also said stop and search needed "immediate attention" to ensure community confidence was not undermined. This followed complaints from many people that police stop and search was "consistently" carried out without courtesy.

Victims should be able to confront rioters who committed crimes against them, the report said, and service personnel who protected communities at "great risk" should be honoured.

There should also be "clear plans" to help cut the risk of reoffending by convicted rioters, the report added.

The report estimated that between 13,000-15,000 people were "actively involved" in the riots between August 6 and August 10.

More than 5,000 crimes were committed, including five fatalities, 1,860 incidents of arson and criminal damage, 1,649 burglaries, 141 incidents of disorder and 366 incidents of violence against the person. The final bill could reach around pounds 500 million, including up to pounds 300 million of claims under the Riot Damages Act and pounds 50 million costs to police, the report said.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2011
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