Response to the Riots


If you’ve been on Facebook, or on Twitter, or you’ve just had a conversation with someone, you’ll probably be aware by now that there are a number of opinions and ideas milling around concerning the recent rioting. Rather than let all these go to waste, the Wessex Scene invites you to join in the discussion below.

If there are enough responses, we will be sending the ideas to local organisations with the purpose of turning young people’s feelings into action – perhaps in a more positive direction than the feelings and actions currently being exhibited in the city centres.

So to join in and get your thoughts heard by more than just your friends on Facebook, leave a comment below answering these three questions:

1) Why are the riots happening? What are the causes?

2) What can be done right now to stop the rioting?

3) Once this is over, what should be done to stop it happening again in Britain?


Mike is the Editor of the Wessex Scene for 2011/2012 after fulfilling the role of Features Editor in 2010/2011. Apart from taking charge of the ever-expanding Scene, Mike enjoys writing for a broad range of the sections, though his heart truly lies in reporting and Features.

Discussion11 Comments

  1. avatar

    I have no idea why the riots are happening and I think that is part of the problem. Such violence, looting, arson, rioting, vandalisation …ect is beyond comprehension and I worry how this is going to stop. It only seems to be escalating from here. Rioters need to be clamped down on, but employing the army or other more radical tactics could be disastrous. The country needs firm direction and there seems to be no one taking this up – probably one of the many reasons people are offering as causing this in the first place?

  2. avatar

    I think the causes of this rioting go a lot deeper than most people think. It isn’t just mindless vandalism and theft, nor is it an organised protest about anything in particular. I would imagine that many of the rioters in Liverpool, Birmingham, and even London have no idea who Mark Duggan, the man shot by police on Thursday, even is.
    What I think the issue here is, we have brought up a generation of young people who all live in deprived areas and who have no respect for the police or law-abiding people’s daily lives. There are many people from my old town who openly boast about mugging people, torching cars, and of course, dealing class-A drugs. Simply looking at most music, films, television programmes these days, it is clear that the boundaries of what is acceptable have changed. Put together with social media allowing these people to communicate so freely, I’m really surprised that this hasn’t happened sooner! Hard-line action needs to be taken by the police, but I know that most of these people will get away with it.

  3. avatar

    The underlying causes of the riots are likely as numerous as the people participating in them, be they racial, economic, political or otherwise. What can be said to underpin them all is a long-standing problem that affects society as a whole, not just these London boroughs, and that is a serious lack of direction. I don’t mean ‘the youth are being abandoned by the government’, this is much bigger than that. Since the failure of the Grand Narratives that led us on a national level there has been nothing to unify us, nothing for us to move towards as a society. This has the effect of creating a partial detachment from the human condition in those who are the most vulnerable (the poor, the uneducated, those who feel discriminated against) and so anger can quickly turn to violence because those participating cannot see the full consequences of their actions, or simply do not care.
    The solution in a long term, wider sense is not one that I in my own musings can provide, but what is needed is a new sense of unity and direction, the rediscovery of our strength and ability to forge human destiny. This has to first come from our leaders, at the moment we are presented with politicians and statesmen that appear more interested with political points scoring than government. We need strong leaders who can set an example of this new energy and drive; the Leviathan must come to the fore.
    In the short term, a massive authoritarian response is needed. Now that they might have the numbers to regain the initiative, the police can no longer afford to simply hold their ground, they must go on the offensive. Other measures such as curfews and travel bans should also be considered. The army must be an absolute last resort, the deployment of troops would not only serve as a provocation, inciting those who might not have rioted to join in response to what they perceive as an overreaction, but it would be an acknowledgement to not only the rioters but the world stage that Britain has lost control of its capital. This would be incredibly damaging, especially in light of our involvement in and judgement of civil disorder and rebellion in other countries.
    I had previously said that I would not have been surprised if there had been large scale protests and disorder as a response to ideologically motivated austerity measures this summer, but I would never have predicted it would be like this.

  4. avatar

    No-one really knows why the riots are happening, and they’re kidding themselves if they think they do. Sure, certain political and economic decisions may have led to the climate where the riots can happen, but 1) that’s a separate (although linked) discussion, and 2) the riots aren’t directly in response to those decisions. They’re not directly in response to anything anymore. Jess is right – they’ve become self perpetuating – they’re now occurring purely because they have so far occurred without consequence. The real causes are numerous and complex and can’t simply be summed up by individuals.

    As for the mentality of the rioters – these two videos sum things up:

    As for a fix? My suggestion may be as vague as trying to answer the question of what has caused the riots, but I think it boils down to social mobility. Fix that, and many other problems will naturally fix themselves. Equally I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.

  5. avatar

    1) Economic crisis, government cuts, unemployment, (higher tuition fees?) all that is just fuel waiting to catch fire. The tragedy in Tottenham was a spark.
    There is now a big problem with copycats as the violence is spreading far away from London. There is no clear message sent by the police and the goverment. Just words of intolerance towards crime and numbers of people getting arrested. Boohoo. Video reports show how riot police just watches a shop being looted or a police car set on fire but they charge after there is nothing left to loot or to burn. I mean, what a rioter would think of such police?
    2) More “active” and offensive riot policing rather than defensive and passive. Also a curfew would be a good idea. In other EU countries riot police have tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to calm even the most violent football hooligans/ rioters. In those countries a couple of cars would be set on fire but not a whole building!!! Rioters in London are just not affraid of police nor the law, for them it is OK to loot and burn. Video reports even show young boys AND girls posing in front of shops. Like looting has been a hip thing to do since long time ago.
    3) The economy should be improved and austere measures avoided in the future. Better equiped and active policing. There are at least 35 policemen in hospitals, so surely a can of tear gas or a water cannon would have helped. How much a policemen is paid to catch a brick with his head? Its funny how people in England say something has to be done and that we need firm decisions. However, radical situations DO require radical actions. You cant expect rioters to stop when the only thing police can do is to wave their battons and the PM saying ‘oh this is bad’.

  6. avatar

    The reason the riots are happening in my opinion is as follows:

    1. These are poor people who don’t have anything to lose. Society has let them down and their lives are made up of drugs, alcohol, boredom.

    2. Ignorant parents who carry this on to their teenagers . Even if they wanted to give them good values, they can’t because they do not have th skills to do so.

    3. Teenager’s psychological problems cause them to act in aberrant ways. (Yes, believe it or not, a 14 year old child causing arson or robbing a shop has psychological problems).

    To stop the rioting we need the public and the police to support each other. Having more police on the streets will probably help. Creating something like a neighbourhood watch team in every area would probably go a long way.

    To stop this happening again we need a LONG TERM solution. We know that most people rioting are from poor background’s (council estates etc). We NEED to have more equality and help these people with education and psychological help. The parents need to go to parent support classes to learn the skills needed to have children. Every child needs a mentor that can help them out.

    This will cost a LOT of money and we need to bring in all our sociologist and psychologist (NOT politicians or police).

  7. avatar
    Louise Liverpool

    The riots are happening because we have an out of touch government.
    I do not condone the violence or looting but these same youngsters from next month will be working 30 hours a week for their £50 benefit working out at £1 something an hour,thus using are youth as slaves and cheap labour.Ever time the Conservatives are in power there are riots. Everybody should watch the BBC3 documentary our children in poverty.Starving children no not in Africa,here in the UK now it will break you heart.
    This government has bought our beautiful country to its knees.

  8. avatar

    1. Mindless idiots just out to cause trouble fuelled by criminal gangs and gang culture. No cultural cohesion.
    2.Government needs to come down hard on those who think they can riot and do what they want. Police need to be given stringent power to deal with the crisis.
    3. More recruitment of Police officers and not cuts. Amore active Police prescence on the streets. Police not to be gagged when evidence points to criminality from cultural minorities. Police should not fear the truth

  9. avatar

    “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” Plato 4th century BC. We can explore the causes, we can dish out the blame, but in the end human behaviour is a vicious and violent wheel the rolls down the mountain of time….

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