The independent report into the disorder in Wandsworth in August has been published. You can read it here. It rightly condemns the looters and praises the ‘broom army’; when I first read the report these 10 new pieces of information jumped out at me:
1) The Independent Commissioner, Neil Kinghan, says 52 Wandsworth officers had been called away to Tottenham on the day of the Clapham Junction looting (p24 of the report) “to leave just eight public order trained officers”.
2) Police reinforcements, requested from 8pm onwards that Monday night, arrived at Lavender Hill police station at 9.57pm and got onto the streets at 10.38pm.
3) The party shop didn’t catch fire until midnight (p7) more than half an hour after the police had ‘cleared’ the area; a fire engine was on the scene within 15 minutes and, contrary to some rumours, did not come under attack.
4) By the time the much-praised armoured cars arrived (12.13am), they were not really needed (p26).
5) The report states that of those charged 88pc were known to police, the average age was 24, and 66pc were black.
6) The engagement of youths in Roehampton by youth workers, particularly during the disturbances, is credited by a source with stopping riots in that area (p63). I’d be interested to hear more of that story if anyone know it…
7) The report states that the Winstanley Estate in Latchmere next to Clapham Junction is in the most 1pc of deprived areas in the country on the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (p71).
8 ) Mr Kinghan recommends (on page 38):
“The council should look at… the design of its housing estates, the provision of more public areas such as the square on the Doddington Estate, its support for residents associations and the provision of sports and other facilities for young people”
9) Mr Kinghan asks difficult questions of the police and we should make sure they are answered. In particular:
* How many police were available in Wandsworth at 7.40pm when the
trouble began? How many were public order trained at levels 1 and 2? Were
* Why did it take until 10.38pm for public order trained reinforcements to
return to the streets, and until 12.13am for armoured vehicles to arrive in the
10) All of the recommendations in the report are sensible. I hope everyone in Wandsworth can pull together to implement them, and make sure nothing similar happens in our neighbourhood again.
I would be very interested to know your thoughts on the report – please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Wandsworth Labour Leader, Councillor Rex Osborn said: “While I praise the courage of our local Police and their actions on August 8th, I welcome Mr Kinghan’s report because it asks tough questions of the Police – in particular, why Wandsworth was left so poorly protected that night. The report also highlights the threat posed by a gang culture on our estates and across our Borough. Our Residents and businesses need and deserve answers and actions on both counts. We must never forget that we can only offer a helping hand to those in need if we use a firm hand to maintain order.”
“Labour councillors will work with Conservative colleagues to implement all the recommendations in the report, such as engagement with a relaunch of Clapham Junction and a focus on the Borough’s Safer Neighbourhood Team panels to close down these gangs. Mr Kinghan’s report underlines the fact that there are children in this Borough who grow up in some of the poorest families in Britain making them easy prey to the way of the gangs and it calls for more Council support for residents associations, families and for sports and youth facilities.
“Better Police intelligence gathering, better Police training, better Police planning and more action against the gangs are all needed. Mr Kinghan’s report reflects this, which is why it has the full support of the Wandsworth Labour group.”
Battersea Labour Party held a public meeting to discuss the disorder with residents. The booklet that came out of this meeting can be read here.