Criminality and Disorder

I am shocked and appalled by by the scenes of criminality, violence and vandalism we have seen in several parts of London and other cities last night.(Monday 8 August)  Although Ilford was not as badly affected as other areas we also suffered from disgraceful criminal behaviour from a group of up to 200 individuals.

 

According to the Redbridge Police   Ilford High Road was subject to large scale disorder. We received information that there might be an attack on The Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Police were sent to the High Road to increase the presence and reassure the local community.

 

From 4pm Police observed small groups of young men gathering on the High Road. The small groups merged into larger groups and headed towards the police station and the end of the High Road. This was caught on CCTV and by Police on video. Police stopped and searched many of the youths. The groups were dispersed by the Police.”

 

However a number of shop fronts were damaged.  The targets of this criminal behaviour were phone shops, sports stores and jewellers on the High Road, and Ilford Lane and a big electrical shop on Cranbrook Road was looted.

 

Up to this morning there had  been 10 arrests  and 3 charged.   However the Police are carrying out further investigations and will be using CCTV to identify suspects and will ensure all the culprits are brought to justice. I have been told that intelligence is being gathered on known offenders and further arrests are planned. The police will publicise images of offenders and bring them to justice. 

 

If you have any information which can help the police it can be passed to police anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111  or to the Major Investigation Team on 020 8345 4142.

 

Local police officers and the Police civilian staff are working very long hours as I saw myself when I visited Ilford Police station on Monday night.  We should all pay tribute to those officers who have put themselves in harm’s way in recent days.  The public need to know that the police response will be swift, overwhelming, and will provide security on our streets. To do that they must have all the powers and support they need.

The Police are also working with local partners including the local council.  I am pleased that the leadership of all three parties on Redbridge Council have issued this  joint statement.

Redbridge Council completely supports the quick and decisive action of the Police following isolated pockets of disorder in Ilford on Monday. Despite effective crowd control a number of shop fronts were damaged and shops broken into by small groups of young men.

Councillor Keith Prince, Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Bond, Deputy Leader of the Council, and Councillor Balvinder Saund, Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, “We are disgusted by the actions of these individuals and our community will simply not tolerate anyone who seeks to cause unrest with lawlessness and senseless vandalism. These are the actions of a small minority of criminals, and the Council will do all it can to help the Police bring them to justice.  The Council are working with the Local Community and Businesses to offer support and advice to keep our shopping centres open for business as usual. Plans are in place to tackle any further disorder should it occur and policing will continue in the Borough to keep the community safe.”

I spent this morning walking around the town centre speaking with local businesses and residents.  It is clear to me that our local community will not tolerate this mindless criminality.  Everyone has been shocked by the age of some of those involved in violence in recent days. Parents, many of whom will now be incredibly anxious, have a big role to play. I say to mums and dads, make sure you know where your kids are. Make sure they are at home tonight, away from any violent activity and safe.  Encourage them not to get involved in any of the violence or disorder which we have seen in neighbouring Boroughs. Please familiarise yourself with what social networking and websites like Twitter and Facebook which  they are using and whether they are appropriate given the disorder taking place across London.

 

 

There is clearly a copy cat and gang component to this violence, and all the ring leaders and organisers must be targeted and arrested. We also need to look again at how we stop young people joining gangs in the first place.

 

This evening and going forward we need to see the strongest possible police response to restore calm and security to our streets.  Our community wants the police to take quick and decisive action to take control of the streets.

 

It is right that the Prime Minister and the London Mayor cut short their foreign holidays and that the Emergency Committee Cobra met this morning. We need a coordinated government led response to ensure public safety and help those people who have lost homes and businesses. Immediate help must be offered to the people who have lost homes and businesses. Ministers must look at whether emergency funds can be released in the same way they are when people lose homes and businesses due to flooding and natural disasters. We spent billions on the banking crisis.  We must help the victims of this criminality.

 

At a time when we see some of the worst behaviour from a small minority in our capital, we already see the vast majority rallying round. Just as we saw after 7/7, people are coming together to clean up and reclaim their streets. It is this resolve that makes us proud of London. It is right that the Prime Minister has asked for Parliament to be recalled on Thursday.   This is a time for Britain’s political leaders to come together. 

 

There will be wider lessons to be learned about what these riots say about the state of British society, but that discussion belongs to another day. The priority now is returning order and security to our streets and protecting our community so we can live our lives and go about our business in Ilford and Redbridge and elsewhere in our country in peace and harmony.

 

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