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Friday, 12 August 2011

London Riots (And Elsewhere).

I haven’t had much chance to get on the blog recently as I have been otherwise engaged. Not on duty dealing with the disorder but helping to back fill and cover other stuff whilst my colleagues have been deployed.

This post isn't about the disorder in particular. I am going to say a little about it before I get on the thrust of this post though.

First, I feel absolutely gutted for the family of Mark Duggan. They are dealing with the loss of a member of their family. I'm not going to post about the circumstances. It is being investigated and to my mind, we should wait until the investigation is complete before saying our piece. No, I feel gutted for them as a result of the objective of the original peaceful protest being hijacked and turned into a number of nights of criminal activity. Shameful.

I also don't want to get too embroiled in the war of words between the Police leaders and the Political leaders about tactics and who did what or what could have been done better. This will also be decided after an investigation. My Bosses probably could have done better and reacted mores speedily. Perhaps they felt apprehension, a fear of being torn to shreds by our political masters if it was perceived we went over the top? I don't know. What I do know is that we need to keep Prime Minister Cameron, Home Secretary May and the rest of them close. Best know where your enemy is. They should have stepped up and backed us up to the hilt initially, when the bricks were flying and the officers were going down. Save criticism for afterwards, when my colleagues have stepped back from the front line and the inquiry into events has provide the real answers, not the knee jerk spin the politicos seem to thrive on.

I'm not going to go into hang em high or hand wringing apologist modes. I have my views about those engaged in the criminal activity and I will save them, maybe for another time.

No, what I DO want to talk about is the good stuff that has come out of these last days of chaos, fear and tragedy.

I will start with one of the most noble and heart rending moments of recent days. In Birmingham, 3 young Muslim men were run down and killed by a car whilst they were on the streets, looking after their community. Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the young men, Haroon, spoke out the other day. Was this in anger? No, it was in grief but, despite his grief, he still had the dignity to appeal to his community to not escalate things, to live together and not allow themselves to find themselves in the situation he was in- the loss of a loved one. This is a man with dignity.

I then want to mention the various groups around the country of all backgrounds who have come together to protect their communities, be they Turks looking after the local businesses, Sikhs and Muslims preventing criminals attacking their temples, Joe Public preventing the attack on local shops. Some may criticise this perceived vigilante action. I applaud it. They are not being vigilantes, they aren't roaming the streets hunting down hoodie wearing looters and dispensing summary justice. They are just stepping up and saying "No. Not in MY community."

Next I want to talk about the Broom Brigade. Recent news footage has included many images of ordinary folk getting together and clearing the streets of the debris of the overnight battles. Men and women of all races, religions backgrounds and ages getting on the streets and trying to restore as much an element of normality as they can. Not in response to some TV request by a politician. In response to a feeling that their community has been hurt and needs to be made well again.

Finally I want to talk about the unknown folk who, having seen the plight of people who have lost their homes to arson, hard workers whose businesses have been looted or destroyed and many other victims who are now struggling to get by after becoming victims of violence and thuggery who have felt compelled to lend their support in the best way they can. In some cases it is turning up at a ransacked shop and offering to help the owner to straighten things out so they can get back into operation. In other cases it is the offer of financial assistance to businesses and families who have lost everything. It may only be £5, £10, £20. It may be more. It doesn't matter. It is help. That is so important now.

Over the last week, Britain, particularly England, has been in the news spotlight. The rioting and looting and destruction isn't Britain. Not MY Britain.

The dignity in adversity. The coming together and saying NO. This will not continue. THAT is MY Britain.