The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Monday, December 05, 2011

More On The Riots

Four months after the riots of last August various bodies have had a go at analysing the causes. Here is a thoughtful piece from the acerbic pen of Theodore Dalrymple who writes as ever from a right-wing perspective, but who can back up his views with a wide range of experience, including years as a prison doctor.
Thus far, I remain convinced that the primary driver of the destruction and looting was both acquisitive and recreational; free stuff and the fun of rampaging in streets where the police had lost control.
The Guardian has put a lot of work into looking for causes and unsurprisingly its analysis differs fundamentally from Dalrymple's.
It is becoming clear that in the two or three days before the police gained control their response was badly mismanaged.
Relations at street level between police and public are obviously very poor in areas such as Tottenham, as I found out when I attended the Five Live debate three weeks ago. Some of the young activists there seemed to have a visceral hatred of the police, with a folk-memory of affronts that continue to smoulder as resentments a long time later. It's a two-way street of course; a PC faced with snarling aggression and hatred is unlikely to go into avuncular George Dixon mode.
Now that we can stand back and reflect on August's events, a couple of things are certainly clear:- A grievance that is misconceived can still be sincerely held, and unemployment and a shortage of youth clubs does not excuse systematic looting and violence.
The police, under their new leader, will no doubt doggedly carry on 'engaging' with the community, but history tells us that when public order is threatened with breakdown the authorities will see a duty to suppress it as a first priority Hence we are likely to see an escalation of crowd-control techniques, with water-cannon, baton rounds, Tasers and more. Britain is not ripe for revolution, however much the far-left fringe would wish it to be so. If cool heads do not prevail, any new outbreaks can be expected to provoke a very firm response indeed.