Riot problems still an issue, Mayor Boris Johnson says

Photo: John Hesse Police cars and businesses were burned during the riots last August

England's riots revealed "deep social problems" that still need to be addressed a year on, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.

The mayor told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme the London 2012 Olympics was "playing a role" in the solution.

"It is sending a clear message about effort and achievement, and what it takes to connect the two," he said.

Riots spread across England after police shot Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, on 4 August last year.

The mayor said £70m had been pumped into inner city areas of London to try to avoid a repeat of the violence and looting, but "lots of different solutions" were needed.

"There are still deep social problems that we've got to address by looking at what happens in the lives of young people, their role models, their ideals, what they want to achieve.

"I do think sport and the Olympics play a role. Sport builds self-esteem, character, confidence and the ability to understand how to lose - all those vital things," he said.

The mayor went on to say there had been a "culture of easy gratification and entitlement" during last year's riots.


From the apocalyptic scenes of last August, to the euphoria of the Olympics. In these heady days of London 2012, the summer of 2011 seems like a bad dream.

In Tottenham High Road, where the riots began - the physical signs are still there. Some of the properties that were burnt to the ground have yet to be completely rebuilt. Long delays in getting compensation and rising insurance premiums have been a source of anger and frustration.

The government, though, says 95% of damage claims have now finally been settled. The post office quickly reopened on new premises - one of many impressive stories of revival.

Those here are determined to move on from what they hope was a freak storm. But in the back of everyone's mind the lingering question: could it ever happen again?

He said the "clear message" that the Olympics was sending "could not come at a better time for a country that is making a difficult psychological adjustment to a new world without easy credit, where life is considerably tougher than it was before the crunch".

Mr Johnson also stressed the importance of getting young people into work, stating there were 67,000 more apprenticeships than a year ago.

Meanwhile Jason Featherstone, director of Surviving Our Streets, a charity which works with young people, told BBC Radio 5 live that he believed things were "still as raw as a year ago" and there could be a repeat of last year's riots.

"I can't see too much progress been made, in the sense of the killing of Mark Duggan, the lack of police information coming forward in regards to what happened in that case.

"I believe we are teetering on more unrest - another incident like this might happen again," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Utter rubbish - its demographics plain and simple

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    It's not the responsibility of the state or the school system to instill character & convictions in your child. It's the parent(s) job. But then again, you have MPs fiddling their expenses, journalist hacking phones, corrupt police officers and the worst of all bankers and greed. Why is greed so prevalent in our society today?

  • Comment number 158.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    The population has received comprehensive "victim" training. Our laws and law-enforcement are set up (by design) to give everyone the expectation that they are powerless, and only the state can (and should) protect them.

    The result is ever-more draconian laws prescribing activity, and restricting freedoms, a surveillance grid to ensure compliance. A self-propogating descent into tyranny.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Put 200 Bombay police on the streets of London and I can guarantee no more riots. There is no political correctness or softly softly approach there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    They moved the lower classes out from the local around the Olympics, an idea they got from China no doubt. What a bloody insult to the idea of Britishness and the Olympic ideal. " Come together all people,..but not you, you are an embarrassment, now go hither from this place to another place, I care not where". Not in my name. Relocate these imbeciles, these traitors of unity and union.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    This is what happens when allow sub-cultures to develop. Look at the wording on police cars "protecting communities" note not protecting the community. Some groups allowed partial treatment by the authorities therefore think they are a special case & an exception to the rule of law.

    The last thing we should do is give them special treatment

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    I see all the "screw you, got mine" right wingers are out to tell us that rioting has nothing to do with deprivation, social injustice and poverty. This despite all the evidence that rioting is EXACTLY to do with those 3 things, and the irrelevant factor that rioting youths also loot overrides any critical thinking capability beyond "b-b-b-but you can't be poor if you have a mobile phone".

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    How can anyone seriously make excuses for the looting....and it was looting, not simple riots.

    The pathetic, selfish, ignorant, supine, ignorant morons who took to the streets for no other reason than to smash and grab deserve no pity. And those who like to justify their actions are equally disgraceful.

    That poor student on the bike, assaulted and robbed....was that societies fault?

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    @122 murkredi. Actually, Thatcher championed thrift and hard work above all else and tried, with mixed success, to ensure people were rewarded for both. It was Peter Mandelson who said he was relaxed about people getting "filthy rich". There are undeserving rich and undeserving poor; too many people (rich and poor) lead pointless lives; all would be enriched by meaningful work, paid or otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    There is (and will continue to be) an under current of discontent across Britain whilst those who are out of work or on low incomes observe the bankers and other wealthy individuals prosper as a result of corrupt behaviours and go unchallenged. Whilst there is no excuse for such public disorder, some people are on their knees and have simply had enough of government policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Now that we have the army stationed in London for the Olympics the rioters won't be willing to stir anything up." the way the gov are treating the armed forces recently I would be surprised if those that have received a redundancy notice are at the front of the riots next time!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    The biggest issue outwith the lack of money, is simple. Parental control and the lack of, in 99% of the cases. We saw kids from good homes involved, so we can only conclude that they like those from less well off background lacked moral guidelines from parents Bankers do but if you smash stuff up you get locked up, if you rob millions in a suit on you get a bonus

    Regardless, Where's the parents

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    so, what? do you want a medal for over-simplification? When the Olympics happen, a stadium, velodrome, swimming pool etc. is built or used at the city that won the games. Is that a difficult concept for you to understand?
    Investment has been made into many of the local clubs across the UK - like i said, visit and you might find out. Its your own fault you have a chip on your shoulder

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Rioting and looting have nothing to do with "deep social problems". It is about people wanting what they cant afford and greed. Plus, not caring about others.

    There are more and more people who do not care for others anymore and they want what they can't afford. It will only get worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    I predict a riot!

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Those banker's , whose criminal actions have destroyed the economy are the ones the people really want to see locked up! Then , those in goverment, ( who think they are untouchable) and who laid the foundations for this economic crimnality should also to brought to account ! That's what the people want, action taken against the real criminals within our society not just the petty ones!

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    119. muttlee5 "The biggest issue is unemployment,especially youth unemployment and the lack of vocational training"

    That is a huge insult to the many thousands of unemployed youths who were as ashamed and disgusted by the riots as anyone else.

    Destroying other people's property as a "protest" is mindless criminal selfishness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    106 Simple Simon
    I shall look forward to athletics stadiums, velodromes and 50m swimming pools being built up and down the country for the benefit of all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    #115 the statistics about the sale of playing fields are very revealing about politics.

    Between 1979 and 1997 roughly 10,000 playing fields were sold. .

    Between 1997 and 2009 officially 220 playing fields were sold, but that excluded all small fields and "community" ie non school owned fields. Actual figure was over 2000 and that is with a policy of not selling!


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