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.


More on This Story

England riots

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    28. Double Dip Dave
    You aren’t the only one to have noticed this.
    Mrs T’ had the good sense to keep the Police sweet & on her side during the last Tory led social upheaval.
    One has to question the sanity of a Gov’ that seems to be going out of their way to hack off as many people as they can without planning for the possible consequences of social unrest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    @459 Simple Simon

    "At the end of the day, an adult is responsible for their actions - not horoscopes, e numbers or lack of hugs.".

    1,800 hrs of jail time makes that self evident. Those who took part are certainly not avoiding responsibility. What I 'want to do' is understand how to avoid a recurrence of those events, and that requires asking difficult questions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    464.marcj1983, 468.Name Number 6

    haha - good point, but the Rosetta clearly thought i'd benefitted from grants and was comparing the past to the present. I'm not a middle aged Tory - i'm from a so-called disadvantaged background - Nothing is easy, sacrifices must be made if you want to achieve anything. As i've said - its quite easy to avoid criminal behaviour - background isnt an excuse

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    This story could be headlined "Johnson talks nonsense again". The only lesson to be learnt from the Olympics is that vast sums of money spent on a relative few can yield results. If the same amount spent per British Olympic competitor was spent on those on deprived areas then things could change. £70 million into those areas compared to £264 million on a few Olympians speaks for itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.


    The law has been broken Fact! There is sufficient evidence to make arrests Fact. In the US they are prosecuting bankers Fact. In the UK the government is dragging its feet Fact! Being ignorant of the law and patronising does not strengthen your case!

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    How about if we where able to find a remote island somewhere, to ship all the rioters crims & dregs to. just ship them and dump them, a blockade & gunships in the air to make sure they couldn't get off.
    Air drops of provisions to sustain them,, just enough. If and Socialists want to improve their lot then a special Tax could be applied to the socialists to pay for them sounds fair to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    467. Simple Simon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    "However much we may hate this government you or I wouldn't riot."

    Its hard for us to understand what it's like to live the lives many of these people have lived. They have been brought up to realise we live in a cut throat world where dog eats dog, they see the people with the money the power and the girls have no respect for others, they decide that is how to get ahead. Society needs to change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    461.Simple Simon
    None, with your accomplishments, however being in possession of degrees only benefit you if you have an industry to enter. Personally having a Masters in MEng & Design (via OU) gets me nowhere as there are no positions for a graduate with no experience. If someone of my level has no work, what happens to the new blood that are training?

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    Was less violent crime when Police didn't carry tasers or body armour.
    Was less gun crime when handguns were legal.
    The evidence from the world is that there is higher violent crime if there is a disparity in power between the people and the state.

    I.E. Only arm the police if you're prepared to arm the public, too

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.


    If the police carried guns as a rule, there might be fewer criminals on the streets, if the people carried guns there would certainly be fewer criminals in politics,
    then move to the USA, no crime there, LA riots never happened, and you can go to the movies or church without fearing for your life. Death penalty and long prison terms in harsh jails obviously work ;)

  • Comment number 469.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    461.Simple Simon
    Fiinishing school might have been a better option than the
    2nd degree, might have learned some etiquite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    the "back in the day" i was talking about was re racism in the 80s - the decade i was born and one i grew up in. I was taught that some have to work harder than others - my mother experienced worse than i did being an immigrant then single mother.
    Anyway you seem to have taken umbrage to this notion of expecting people to try when faced with adversity rather than give up

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    "Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand." Karl Marx

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    After reading some of the comments on here, I am amazed at the amount of people excusing these criminals acts. I live in London near where some rioting occured, you see the guys who did it swilling beer and taking drugs driving around in there customized cars with booming music at all hours. Come live in London if you want to see what scum they are and how the ghetto mentality has taken over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.


    Modest much?

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    lalondoner if middle class riots both the benefit cheats an upper class will be kill very quickly since middle class outnumber the rich and poor. and middle class includes the police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    If the police carried guns as a rule, there might be fewer criminals on the streets, if the people carried guns there would certainly be fewer criminals in politics, and no banks to rob at all.

    You're argument falls flat on its face, take a good hard look at the USA, most people have guns, more innocents shot dead on a regular basis, more criminals in high places, need I go on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    hahaha - wind your neck in - i'm 29. I never had a grant and i've 2 degrees - neither were free, both this decade. Problem?


Page 11 of 34


More Politics stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.