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Riots raise fears for London 2012 security

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David Bond | 12:01 UK time, Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Given the disturbing scenes we are seeing across London and the rest of the country, the impact on sport is of relatively minor importance.

But there is no question the pictures of the capital burning, which are being beamed around the world, will seriously damage Britain's and London's image with a year to go until the Olympics.

And the rioting raises yet more serious questions about the Metropolitan Police's capacity to secure the Games next summer.

The Football Association's decision to cancel tomorrow night's friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley is a sign of how major sports events can get caught up in the wider issue of dealing with serious public disorder.

Olympic test events such as the Beach Volleyball International tournament at Horse Guards Parade are going ahead despite the rioting in London. Photo: AP

Olympic test events such as the Beach Volleyball International tournament at Horse Guards Parade are going ahead despite the rioting in London. Photo: AP

It is terrible timing for London 2012 with the International Olympic Committee in town for their twice yearly project review. The IOC issued a statement today reiterating its complete confidence in the authorities to handle the developing crisis but Denis Oswald, the chair of the IOC's co-ordination commission, must be asking some serious questions of Lord Coe and his team today.

Just two weeks ago the Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave a rousing performance in Trafalgar Square, reiterating time and again that London was ready. The venues might be but events of the past couple of days are evidence yet again, that Olympic hosts are at the mercy of events.

For the first time we are getting a sense of what it feels like to be at the other end of the lens. How often have we sat here, a year from an Olympics or World Cup, and made judgments on a country's or city's capacity to host these big events in the face of local security concerns, financial troubles or whatever else might be happening.

One year from the World Cup in South Africa and a stabbing in Johannesburg could spark questions about whether the whole thing should be called off. Some of this disorder is happening just a mile or so down the road from the Olympic Park. How will foreign athletes hoping to spend two weeks at the Olympic village in Stratford feel watching all this unfold on their televisions?

Security around the athletes and venues will, of course, be tight and I suspect none of the rioters smashing up our high streets care about the Olympics. They are unlikely to see the IOC or London 2012 as a target for their anger and frustration but at a time of severe financial hardship the nagging doubts over the £9.3bn cost won't be helped by what we are witnessing.

Then there was the promise, made by Lord Coe, during London's bid that the Games would help engage young people with sport. Judging the legacy before an event has even happened is clearly unfair but at this stage there is no evidence that the Olympics is doing anything - particularly in those London boroughs next to the Olympic park - to back up that promise.

The Metropolitan Police say that major public disorder was one of the key scenarios they were planning for in their preparations for London 2012.

At the moment there will be 12,000 police on duty across the UK during peak days and 9,000 in London itself. To put that into perspective, the Prime Minister has said there will be 16,000 on the streets of the capital tonight. The police say they will be looking to learn lessons for next year from what's been happening over the last few days.

Sport is peripheral. But, obviously, the riots are not what London 2012 wanted the world to be focusing on a year out from the Games. The knock-on effect for Britain and the capital's reputation at a time when we are in the spotlight could be significant.


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  • Comment number 1.

    It's not anger and frustration - it's pure opportunism

  • Comment number 2.

    The £9.3bn cost of the Olympics should have been spent in making our streets safer.

    Worst still is that the extra policing needed to secure the Olympics makes every High Street a target for rioters come 2012.

  • Comment number 3.

    Millions of people around the world will now be seeing pictures of hundreds of young kids running amok in England while the police stand by and watch and pictures of dozens of adults looting stores with no police in sight. What sort of message does that give to not only the rioters and looters but to the vast majority of us who wouldn`t dream of behaving this way.
    It makes us look powerless against mob rule and if I was a potential tourist seeing this, there is no way I would come here.
    The police should be told in no uncertain terms to use baton charges, tear gas, water cannon etc against these rioters and looters to bring this madness to a halt.

  • Comment number 4.

    A mute point well made in this blog David.
    This is a PR disaster for the UK (but that is of little significance for those hurting in the streets). There will be short and long term impacts on tourism, though most of the houses and shops are insured against the immediate damage.

    Hopefully, London and the UK will rebound from this, as we always do. 'Luckily' the Olympic tickets are already sold and once this silly violence is out of the headlines London and it's sport and get on with leading the world.

    PS. Some would argue that calling off the England friendly benefits the sport too.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I completely concur with Mozza. It's opportunism at it's very worst. What briefly turned from a once peaceful protest consisting of people that geniunely cared, to what we're now seeing on various media outlets, is now being used as an excuse for these looters, and thugs to hide behind while they commit these atrocious crimes.

    In light of what has happened, It really doesn't send out a very comforting message to international communities and athletes wanting to spend 3-4 weeks in London during 2012, without feeling the need to look over their shoulder. If there's any sort of silver lining to be gained from this, is that it's happened this year, and not this time next year, when the eyes of the world will be well and truly be on us.

  • Comment number 7.

    With so many police required for security at Olympic venues and protection from the terrorist threat, the many criminal gangs will see the Olympics next year as a tremendous opportunity to have a repeat looting spree. There is simply not enough police to deal with that scenario.

  • Comment number 8.

    David why are you trying to sensationalise this. There will be plenty of police and also don't forget you will hav e plenty of prviate security in and around the Olympic venues. I'm also sure that there will be plenty of undercover operations going on and the people rioting over the last few days will not even think about doing it when the games are on.

    Remember that when the games are on I'm sure that all leave will not be allowed as well as drafting in more manpower from other forces to help out. The riots over the past few days could have been predicted if you look closely at things. Politicians and expenses, police and payments made by newspapers et al for information and you have a minority of youth thinking everybody else is screwing the system and I want something for nothing.

  • Comment number 9.

    What evidence is there that foreign or domestic tourists would be even slightly deterred from travelling to the games. It's 1 year away, in a country generally well respected for security, and a lot can and will happen before then. There are far more serious and bloody demonstrations going on around the world all the time, even in Olympic cities.
    I went to the World Cup in South Africa, despite a threat against the very match I was going to watch and the much worse potential daily security threats to my person.
    People have short memories. London will be fine.

  • Comment number 10.

    #5. whytey79:

    I agree with you. I would even go so far as to say that the English need to have a referendum and ask if they really want to continually help out the Scotish and Welsh.

  • Comment number 11.

    Perhaps the media should not give these idiots the time and space - if they weren't getting the attention their tiny minds are seeking then maybe it wouldn't spread! I am completely fed up with funding stupidity through my taxes and wonder why I bothered using up 4 years of my life training to see hard earned income going down the drain. The police should be allowed to act as they see fit without the do-gooders looking at every move that is made - as an honest working citizen, I deserve as much say as to where my money is spent, and support every move that they make! What about the shop keepers who have lost their livelihood? Will they get the support they deserve - I very much doubt it (and their insurance costs will go up - if they can get insurance that is).

  • Comment number 12.

    Many thousands of tourists have cancelled their visits to London, anyone doubting the potential threat to the Olympics next year are deluding themselves.

  • Comment number 13.

    #5. whytey79: completely agree with you.

    #10 Nick_Hove_Actually: typical misplaced english arrogance

  • Comment number 14.

    If the police have downed tools and wont control the yobs then London doesnt deserve the Olympics. The army should have been sent in on Saturday night. Our country is being made into a laughing stock, by a sub race of greedy, selfish louts....a large proportion of whom drug deal and carry knives/guns. The game is up for decent people.

  • Comment number 15.

    They will also be regretting the area they decided to build the stadium in, one of the worst areas in London, this will massively affect the tourism they hoped would pay for the games. It is mayhem and the world can see our "human rights" Police force cant cope with these small disturbances, let alone when it is scaled up a notch.

  • Comment number 16.

    The police could not cope with the riots and allowed looting to take place without any response at all in some areas, how on earth are they going to cope with the Olympics?

    Of course the media tried to hide all the disturbances around the Olympic site yesterday and did not report it. Yet it took place a short distance from where these events will happen.

    The police failed in their duty yesterday and unless there are changes will fail again at the Olympics.

  • Comment number 17.

    "The Metropolitan Police say that major public disorder was one of the key scenarios they were planning for in their preparations for London 2012."

    Judging by the past three nights it appears a little more planning and a lot more practice might be required.

  • Comment number 18.

    It amazes me how many parents have no control over the children, a huge number of "rioters" or more accurately thieves and opportunists were of school age and they are ignored by their parents so take solace in joining another family, the gang family, this provides them with a feeling of security and of being looked after, two important parts of parenting that does not seem to happen any more in many family units. Don't put the youths in prison but put their parents in prison and in work gangs to clear up the mess and maybe some of them will realise a child is for life and not just for Christmas!

  • Comment number 19.

    Sell it to Sky and let them deal with it, thats the BBC's policy.

  • Comment number 20.

    Parents don't have control over their kids? some of the parents are joining in!

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    Agree with #10. Nick_Hove_Actually in response to the frankly ridiculous comments #5. whytey79.

    Thanks for your support and lovely comments! You are welcome to your independence, I would certainly vote for it. Would love to see Scotland and Wales survive as independent countries, you don't stand a chance with no help from Whitehall.

  • Comment number 23.

    whytey79, BigDreed if you honestly think that there isn't a single person or group of people in Scotland and Wales, willing to show the sort of brazen opportunism and complete lack of moral guidance, that these morons have shown, then you are either naive beyond belief or deluded.

    I know there has always been some weird inability for some people in our home nations to "love thy neighbour", but if you think this is a good chance to enjoy a little bit of one-upmanship whilst so many are suffering then I pity you. These are times where our countries should be showing ourselves to be a United Kingdom, not a squabbling neighbours with a several hundred year old grudge.

    If I were you, I would be looking at the proud people who took to the streets this morning to help complete strangers clean up this mess and think "That makes me proud to be British".

    Give it a go.

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    #8 Nick, I agree with some of your points but your comment about there being plenty of private security around for 2012 is not actually correct.

    There is a well-known (at least it is in the security industry) short fall of licensed security staff when compared to the numbers required to cover the games. That's what the government and various agencies have been working on solving since the London games were announced ( ).

  • Comment number 26.

    I've never supported the Olympics in London, I think that money would have been better spent in just sorting the deprived, run down areas anyway. That said, there is NO justification for what we've seen happen over 3 days. No-one should be even contemplating finding excuses for wanton acts of criminality that put innocent lives at risk. I do hope politicians of all types do not attempt to political point score here and just condem, without exception, what went on and support the police in bringing law and order back to the streets.

  • Comment number 27.

    Cancel the Olympics while you still can.. It has cost us a criminal amount already (thanks Blair for all the lies), no sports fans are going anyway and it is going to cost us even more if we carry on. We're broke and it's all about not losing political face. The police are unable to carry out their jobs thanks to the insane death-by-youtube culture we are beholden to and they are dangerously understaffed and undersupported.

  • Comment number 28.

    At a time like this, how can anyone in their right mind be worrying about sport? Making and keeping our streets safe is FAR more important than ANY sport, whether it be a Sunday league football match or the Olympics. For goodness sake get your priorities right!

  • Comment number 29.

    @ #5 & #13

    I fail to see how the issue of Welsh and Scottish independence is truly relevant to this issue. However, Scotland and Wales have their own National Assemblies; where's the English equivalent? You get free university education and free prescriptions which are paid for by my taxes as much as yours, yet I have to pay for the same in England. The commentator at #10 makes a perfectly valid point and your knee-jerk response is to call it arrogance.

    I don't see these appalling riots being an issue in 12 months time. If the disaffected, mindless youths attempt to do the same this time next year, the police reponse will be swift and strong, unlike the limp efforts of the Met to contain the violence thus far. In fact, in terms of the Olympics, it's probably good this has happened, as it will serve as a wake-up call to those planning the security of the Games next year. I'd much rather this lesson didn't have to learnt however.

  • Comment number 30.

    Seriously, what has this rioting and the Olympics got to do with the rest of the country?

    Ok, there were some minor outbreaks in a few other cities last night, but all of this is to do with London and no where else.

  • Comment number 31.

    I hate to break it to you, and it came as a shock to me but as a Brit now living in USA, but the rest of The World is not even looking at London. The riots barely flick on the radar here. Everyone has their own problems, rioting and unrest included, so does this tarnish London's reputation, I don't think so. Is it an enormous embarrassment for us Brits, yes it certainly is.
    The Olympics however will be a success because, like #riotcleanup, people will get behind it and make it so.

  • Comment number 32.

    Has it not struck you as convenient that 7/7 happened a day after London was awarded the games, the next 5 years saw the Press savage the concept until the site was almost complete a year ahead of time and now, with the IOC in town, riots are co-ordinated?

    You might like to think about which forces in the world would not like to see a confident reinvigorated Britain.

    And you might like to ask whether they have any links to the organisers of this violence.

  • Comment number 33.

    I tried to buy £300's worth of tickets for London 2012, thankfully I didn't get any of those. I'll be able to watch it all (the riots) on TV instead!

  • Comment number 34.

    #30 Badger - I live in Cornwall in a place so remote I don't ever imagine a rioter or looter would find us, let alone find their way back with a TV in tow. However, I can't watch the pictures being shown and think "I'm alright Jack" because it's not right on my doorstep.

    It's that sort of attitude that contributes towards making this country such a disaffected society.

    Can you watch a charity campaign for starving children in Africa without being moved at all?

    Sorry David, for turning your blog into my soapbox, but some of the detachment people show to reality and society astounds me, and frankly makes me a little bit sad.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm sure if the Met want to borrow a water cannon or two from the PSNI they'd be happy to oblige. Strange sitting in Belfast watching how riots unfold elsewhere, and how very different they are to those we see here. There is no protest involved in this, that's very clear. It's just a bunch of layabouts seizing an opportunity to loot and destroy in the full knowledge that the police are powerless to stop them. Time to take a much harder line before control is lost completely.

  • Comment number 36.

    The Metropolitan Police have been unable to cope with widespread street disorder, arson and looting over the last 3 nights. The nightmare scenario is that these criminal gangs will replicate their actions during the Olympics, knowing that the police will be fully committed during this period.

  • Comment number 37.

    Can't understand why people would pay for Olympics tickets anyway. Choice a) pay a fortune and get tickets. Go there and see the athletes as little specs in the distance, so small that you wouldn't recognise them if you bumped into them in the supermarket. Or choice b) sit and watch it in the comfort of your own home where thanks to HD and superb lenses you will be able to see every bead of sweat on their brows. The ability to record the best bits that you want to watch again; instant replays of finishes; no overpriced charges for drinks, food, etc. I know where I will watch from!

  • Comment number 38.

    It is already serious.These planned attacks, co ordinated as they are through mobile phones, are not isolated events. Petrol bombs don't appear suddenly. The death of Duggan has nothing to do with looting it's just the opportunity to trigger rioting and targetting of shops and property.
    Obviously the Olympics will be another heaven sent chance for the out of control mob to absolutely destroy our reputation in the eyes of the world. The cancellation of a International between England and Holland is a demonstration of how a few hundred rioters spread around can create absolute mayhem.
    They must be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of what a few thousand might do.
    The Police are in a no win situation.On the one hand film crews and reporters who in the past have not been unknown to stir things up at football rioting, can stand by and witness Police doing apparently nothing. On the other, if they charge and batter the rioters the PC brigade come down on them for unnecessary violence.
    It may be the latter action that may ultimately persuade these lawless thugs that the public cannot stand what they are doing to this country.

  • Comment number 39.

    There must be a link in all the places where riots have broken out. Some sort of common theme but I just can't think what it is.

  • Comment number 40.

    #34 Hold Those Cue Cards

    At no time do I feel "Alright,Jack", and I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

    Yes, I feel sorry for people caught up in this, through no fault of their own, as I also feel deep sorrow for victims elsewhere. However, many others throughout the country are dealing with difficult times, but haven't resorted to rioting. They've just gotten on with it.

    Also, as most of the media outlets in the country are London based, a disproportionate amount of coverage has been given to this item. I don't recall this level of media attention given to riots in Northern Ireland.

    This is my main point, although I obviously didn't put it very well previously. The rest of the country must stop because something is going on in London.

  • Comment number 41.


    Nothing to do with arrogance, everything to do with absolute economic fact.

  • Comment number 42.

    David Bond:

    "Public disorder could seriously harm London's reputation"


    There is no 'could' about it. I think it's pretty nailed on. I doubt very much we'd have won the Olympic bid if this kind of thing was happening back when the decision was being made.

  • Comment number 43.

    The world cup in South Africa has been mention here a few times,anyone here knows what happened in Pretoria the day before the final?no,our police arrested a couple of men,at a service station,who were trying to sell them 2 WORKING dirty bombs,your quess where they would have ended up.

  • Comment number 44.

    This is a Global "Thing" and not a UK "Thing"... unrest in North Affrica, South Europe, Mid East, now UK... We are facing a Global unrest and we should not scratch the surface but try to understand why and how we can take corrective action... all of the us, the politicians, the economist, the social workers

  • Comment number 45.

    Why can't police carry guns? Sort out this madness, completely thick minded idiots rioting because they have nothing better to do, no life, no jobs, probably no money, its pathetic.

  • Comment number 46.

    Badger, I'm more than used to the saturated media coverage that anything that occurs in London gets, however, this is surely worthy of the coverage (although an argument being that it just fans the flames for these rioters with their 5 mins of fame).

    It's clearly not just a problem in London, as has been shown last night and this afternoon already, and these copycat lemmings are clearly intent on grabbing their share of the limelight, wherever they live.

    Sorry if I suggested you were soulless, I obviously went a little overboard, but this whole thing is quite emotionally charged, apart from the looters who show a complete lack of emotion.

    This is probably the wrong place for it, but I simply don't buy these excuses of poverty and lack of opportunities. If you have any real drive to achieve something with your life you create opportunities for yourself. Send these wannabees off to a truly poverty stricken country then see whether they raid the FootLocker store or the shop selling basic supplies for their family.

    They are a disgrace to themselves, their families and humanity, they don't know how lucky they have it in this country, even if you are starting on the bottom rung of the ladder.

  • Comment number 47.

    Why does'nt the UK government ban the wearing of clothes ect that hide's the face?they could do it for a couple of days,same with a curfew

  • Comment number 48.

    First of all, I'd still be happy to visit London or many other parts of the UK any time, including now. I'm sorry for all the trouble.

    It's interesting and in some ways unfathomable why people riot, and why they don't. The US has seen very little significant crowd violence since Rodney King 20 years ago, and, really not much period since the late sixties--when substantial portions of many cities were burned down. Why then? Why not now? is a difficult question to answer.

    The media seem to be implying this is largely a question of alienated recent immigrants starting a fire, and lootists and opportunists keeping it going. I have no idea if this is what actually happened. It's also portrying the official response, now, as too weak. I guess if I were watching my neighborhood go up in smoke, I'd feel that way too.

    My first reaction to any of this was, didn't know British police carry guns. It doesn't look like they used them very profitably. Another point is that you shouldn't have any official program that says straight off it's targeting particular ethnic groups. It looks like discrimination. The US had something called The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms because it didn't want to have a Department of Keeping Poor People in their Place.

  • Comment number 49.

    #46 Hold those Cue Cards

    I agree completely that there is no excuse for the rioting. That was part of my issue, as there are many other people in many other parts of the country/world that have had greater problems, but don't resort to these sort of tactics.

    This sort of behaviour has been described, in the past, as recreational rioting and it has no place in a civilised society.

    I do agree that the issue should be covered, however it has been disproportionate and, as we have seen, has led to mindless copying elsewhere.

    The reporting media should do so responsibly, rather than (excuse the pun) fanning the flames. The rioters see that they have an elevated level of power and are front page news, and will feed off of that, hence the reason that others want to copy. They all think that they can be king for a day.

  • Comment number 50.

    @5 whytey79....erm......the riots might be an english thing, but hosting the olympics was awarded to great britain. im guessin you are scottish, and as a fellow scot i have to admit english baiting is fun...but get your fundamental facts right first mate, or you may end up looking more than a litle bit foolish

  • Comment number 51.

    This presents a very bad image of the UK to the World. The rioting has nothing to do with genuine protests. The people who are doing the burning, destroying, vandalism and looting do so because they find it great fun - exciting, exhilarating. They enjoy it immensely. It is an insult to those brave people in other countries, now and in the past, who protest peacefully,often risking their lives, to gain freedoms we enjoy here, whatever problems we have. I hope the Olympics are not affected.

  • Comment number 52.

    and a scot, and hove resident...why has this turned into a nationality hating forum...for a start whytey has his facts wrong, and secondly, nick et al, whitehall would suffer from loss of oil and whiskey revenue...if scotland were given independance, you can gurantee we would want our (admitedly dwiindling) oil, can everyone get back on topic please???

  • Comment number 53.

    I hear people defending the rioters saying that they are disadvantaged- I even heard Camilla Batman Gelich saying that they were 'vulnerable' youngsters- that's a deep insult to all those people who are really vulnerable but don't smash stuff up and nick things. Anyway who's to say all the rioters are young and vulnerable whatever the *%$£ that means

  • Comment number 54.

    There doesn't seem to be the social pressure anymore within communities, or enough of it at least. Most kids are thankfully ok but there is a sizeable minority (and growing) that has no respect for authority and no sense of responsibility. I think the "human/children's rights" movements has a lot to answer for. Too many kids rule the roost at home or school. Too much inconsistent parenting. Too many kid's who are mum and dad's best friend - kid should know their place at home - simple as. A lack of discipline and all that entails does them no favours as the adult world of work will not tolerate them for very long. They do not have the basic skills /attitudes to cope in work - ask most employers.

  • Comment number 55.

    A happy and contented population doesn't riot. Every day, our media bombards us with messages of consumerism, that we "must" own this or that, while jobs are being lost and people are struggling to survive. The papers laud morons, and make celebrities of the illiterate and immoral, who then seem to be rewarded with even more fame/opportunity/money. Those bright kids who studied hard and worked hard to gain qualifications are left on the scrapheap, unable to find jobs, while thickos get to appear on TV, and earn millions: what message is that sending out to our youth? I am in no way condoning the rioting, but I totally understand why these kids feel cheated.

    Everyone knows the Olympics won't bring hope to a new generation: once it's all over, and the minimum-wage security and stewarding jobs have gone, what good is an empty stadium? They'll be sold off, like the Millennium Dome. Most sports are way too expensive to even watch, let alone participate in. The Olympics was never about bringing regeneration to the inner city: that was just fancy wrapping. It's more about big contracts for the government's cronies.

    The only thing to be thankful for is that the kids currently rioting seem too stupid to attack anything beyond their immediate area. But if those brighter kids who can't get jobs start to rebel, then we're going to see more targeted attacks on big business.

  • Comment number 56.

    As bad as these riots are does anyone remember the riots in canada after the ice-hockey game earlier this year? I watched those with interest as I've always wanted to go to Vancouver. Have they put me off, no not at all.

    Those riots were people venting frustrations against a sports team, a little excessive perhaps but you can see the connection. It doesn't seem there are many differences in the London riots, people venting frustrations in an illegal manner. Will it stop people coming to London Olympics? Maybe if they are particularly worried and usually cover themselves in cotton wool. I can't see it affecting normal people's decisions on attending. The only issue is the media and as usual David making connections and dramatising issues that don't need to be mentioned. If all the media jump on the riot/2012 band wagon then the population will start worrying. If David and his colleagues didn't write these articles then it wouldn't be such a discussion point.

    The media helps to stir up the general population into a slight hysteria and as usual he should stop!

    This doesn't mean that I am not shocked and saddened by the behaviour but there is some understanding as to why discontented youths might react in such an opportunistic way.

  • Comment number 57.

    After years of do gooders worried about the sensibilities of minorities and championing no real disciplining of children. We are now havesting the result of no discipline and no real threat of any punishment. The result of this is the mindless rioting we have seen. Our police have been criticised for being too hard. So now they seem to be more worried about not upsetting the thugs!

  • Comment number 58.

    Hate to break it to you number 31 paulieev, but the lack of coverage of the London riots in the US is just typical for America. I am a Brit here in Norway, and while it is not the absolute top story, due to the continued shock over what happened here last month in Oslo and on Utøya, it is still big big news. The americans and canadians have a baseball tournament and call it the world series? Says it all really.

    However, this is not the point. I think it was wise to call off the football matches, as this is a very serious situation. I think the riots could continue for some while, but by a year from now the situation would have calmed down. As for the can just imagine what`s going through some young bobby`s head...If I lay into someone it will be on Youtube in 5 minutes flat, and I will get the sack, and the whole world will condemn the British police for being heavy-handed, so I`ll just back off a bit. And it must be pretty scary.
    Lets not blame the police for this. If you were in their shoes what would you do? They are not perfect, but they are acting like responsible people. Meanwhile the young greedy angry irresponsible looters act worse than animals.

  • Comment number 59.

    #52 - Well said mate. We don't need to rehash to same arguments, it's true the olympics and team GB doesn't mean much to anyone here - but, in the same was as the USSR had a single team, until we're competing as independent nations we should support our respective athletes competing via team GB.

  • Comment number 60.

    The real cuts have not bit yet. Not enough people are truly angry and with what they perceive a bleak future. Yet.

    That will have begun to change by the time of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 61.

    There are far too many people now in this country - some are irreversibly socially , intellectually and educationally damaged - not repairable or can not be rehabilitated , I'm afraid. There is no 'work' and will no 'work' of any kind for them to do in the future - even less now in some areas.
    There is only one way these looters can go; painted into a dark corner by their sticky own hands. Very bad for them ; very sad for the rest of us.

  • Comment number 62.

    Is it too late to stop using "London Calling"

  • Comment number 63.

    The riots are front page news in today's NY Times and a lead story on CNN. So I don't know what you mean by no US coverage. I've certainly been following the story. Granted, folks in Keokuk, Iowa may not have the same degree of interest as you. But then, I doubt if you care much about what happens in Keokuk.

    The World Series was so named in 1884 when it was fondly hoped that baseball would become a popular sport all over the world. That never panned out, but the name stuck by tradition. Nobody claims that it is an international competition. It is true that some Americanophobes in Britain are fond of citing it as an example of Yank arrogance. Says it all, really.

  • Comment number 64.

    Its opportunism,together with boredom and a lack of societal control.
    The police appear to be ineffective in the main so are losing community support because of this alone. It may require 'robust' response but I fear that the English polish forces have no idea what that may be,they appear demoralised.
    No surprise that the fine youth of Manchester and Birmingham are the focus so far tonight ,as the police centralise their forces in London.
    My suggestions would be as follows :-
    1) Curfew on under 21 year old's after 7pm in high streets/shopping areas
    2) ban on hooded garments
    3) punishments of guilty offenders to be community service that seriously shows them what their responsibilities are to society /community where they live

  • Comment number 65.

    1. I've had one US friend ask me if I'm OK(despite there being no rioting in this part of the country) and others that know about it. So clearly it's on the US radar.

    2. It's a bummer that England vs Netherlands was cancelled but my bigger concern is/was the safety of friends and family in London.

    3. Genuine sports fans do have Olympic tickets(including me). OK, not enough but there are still opportunities to get more. Don't cancel the Games yet! ;)

  • Comment number 66.

    As the lady in Ealing said - they are ferral rats!
    If they want to behave like animals! - they should be treated like animals!
    The backlash of all this is that the house, commercial buildings and car insurance's will rocket - Who is going to foot the bill? Honest Hard-working people.
    And also, no doubt the council tax will go up to cover the policing and repairs costs!
    again, who is going to foot the bill? Again, Honest hard-working!!
    A bit draconian but the Police need to fight fire with fire!!
    1, Place a curfew
    2, Those that are caught are fast-tracked in front of the judiciary and sentenced!!
    3, Use water canon's
    5, Use rubber bullets
    6, As a last resort - bring in the Army!

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    This isn't a "PR disaster for the UK" it's a PR disaster for Coe and The Olympic Organising committee which is just wonderful beyond words!

    Ever met anyone who actually supports the Olympics being here next year? . No me neither. If this is a nail in it's coffin then I applaud it.

  • Comment number 69.

    The OLYMPIAD any one ???

    Its an archaic institution and should have been buried years ago. I believe by the 80s much of its mystic glamour had worn away by the almost endless competitions in Commonwealth, Grand Prix and World Championship merry-go-rounds.

    Much too expensive for a two-week wonder, don't you think ??? I remember when it was first announced we had won the chance to stage it, our reps absolutely went crazy with joy. In view of what it has cost us so far, I doubt if they still feel the same way about it today.

    And as for the Riots if they don't put a stop to it now, we can kiss our billions goodbye and have nothing to show for it !!

  • Comment number 70.


    You are an idiot.

    Firstly anone who can describe what is happening as wonderful is ignorant beyond words.

    Secondly the fact that the Olympic tickets were so massively oversubscribed shows the support the public have the games. Everyone I know supports the Olympics being here.

  • Comment number 71.

    Those youngsters have gone mad. They see on TV what is happening in London and Birmingham and now youngsters in Manchester and even smaller towns such as Walsall, want their free TVs, trainers and iphones. They hear that the police can't do anything and thus it is fun for all.It has nothing to do anymore with the poor guy who got shot by the police. Stop talking about their being bored, by youth clubs cloing down. These kids are permanently bored, their brains have long stopped working, they will never attend any youth clubs, their parents have lost interest in them, they are used to getting what they want and they will have it. They have no respect for Cameron in his shiny suit and clean shaven face, they see him as one of the rich whose stores they can demolish. The gap between him and those unruly mobsters is huge, virtually beyond building a bridge across. As one of the girls said this morning: we want what the rich have and we will get it.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    "across London and the rest of the country"
    No, No Mr Bond it's not across the REST of the country. It's only across ENGLAND. It is not Across Ireland, Wales or Scotland. (Note Upper case for emphasis only)

  • Comment number 74.

    Read this with respect until the argument that the Olympics is doing nothing to help young people. That's because the venues are not yet complete, and the Games haven't been held in them. Isn't this issue too serious to have commentators publishing such facile comments under the guise of considered analysis ?

  • Comment number 75.

    It is awful for the innocent people involved and really tragic that they have lost so much. But isn't it just the ultimate horrific conclusion of the breakdown of communities in modern urban society?

    Rural areas suffer as much deprivation in terms of unemployment, housing and services but there is a great sense of community and people help each other out. Any trouble or vandalism is deal with within the village and doesn't involve the police.

  • Comment number 76.

    Worrying times. The sirens have been going all day in my part of London and most places closed early in the afternoon. Over the last few years everyone seems to have been focused on 'human rights' and criticising the police. This is a luxury in a way, which is based on an assumption that the rule of law is enforced and an option only to those in countries without serious law and order problems. The masses of looters and criminals have realised that if they all act at once they outnumber the police and can take what they like. When one looks back at similar periods in history the sequence of events is clear. 'Normal' citizens start demanding greater protection and tougher law enforcement, possibly culminating in martial law and soldiers on the street. And in the background, the steady rise of groups like the Far Right.

  • Comment number 77.

    Herriot2 wrote:
    "across London and the rest of the country" No, No Mr Bond it's not across the REST of the country. It's only across ENGLAND.

    Herriot, every Scottish person I know views Scotland as a separate country to England, so not sure what your problem with his sentence is. Anyway, what a time for semantics and petty point scoring.

  • Comment number 78.

    When it comes down to the International Olympic Committee and the Tory Party losing money we all know they will do ANYTHING (and I literally mean ANYTHING) to stop that happening !

  • Comment number 79.

    #55 Graphis. You have hit the nail on the head. This is the result of the diet of excess consumerism that we've fed our youth for too long. So now they're taking what they thing they 'need'. After all this is what they've been told they 'need'.

  • Comment number 80.

    the Uk is in crisis for a long time. If you see the type of people who are doing this looting you would not want to come to Britain. Very violent young people, no parental guidance, multi racial communities with no common values, obesity and over drinking and drug culture. The governments are blind. Long ago, violent music and films should have been banned. Alcohol should have been strictly controlled and make unavailable for teenagers. Policing should be upgraded. Corporal punishment in schools should be allowed. Immigration controls, funding into schools and welfare and community. There has been consistently bad government since Thatcher and onward to Blair etc. only investment in greed and consumerism and yet we are poor poor poor as a nation,. Poor in values and morals. Britain is not a good example for Olympian values. No way.

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    Just when you thing nothing could define "opportunism" more than the thugs looting shops for a plasma TV, along comes our Dave to trump them, eyeing yet another chance to take an ill-informed pop at London 2012. Oh for the day when BBC News actually employed people who (a) knew their sport, and (b) didn't bang on with the same agenda every time.

  • Comment number 83.

    lalalee you are right, I can't understand why martial law and a shoot on sight order has not been issued....

  • Comment number 84.

    Aaah!! makes one wish for the simple problems of ineptitude and corruption that plagued the commonwealth games in India. At least the athletes did not have to worry about being burnt alive or bludgeoned by a melee of crazed tea drinkers!

  • Comment number 85.

    what a load of guff, London is a great world city that has had to endure great difficulties incuding IRA, 7/7, rioting yobs but the true londoners (those born here and those who choose to call it home and who come from all over the world including a great many from scotland and wales) will reclaim the city, many will flock to London next year and enjoy a great festival of sport and the best that London has to offer. So Mr Bond what is this significant knock-on event you left dangling at the end of the article? Come on back it up it is your job, no theories just a serious of moans! I am willing to bet that my view of the future is much more likely that yours

  • Comment number 86.

    To all those discussing England v Scotland etc. Its not about where you are from, its about how you act and react. In the affected areas of London there are huge numbers of people you call themselves English (or British) who have come from overseas. The flip to this is the number born in the UK who describe themselves as non-British. The reasons for rioting are nothing to do with ethnicity, its all about attitude and beliefs. I will not be surprised when the arrest figures are released to find English, Scots, Welsh, Irish and others among the numbers.

    Lay off the nation beating in this forum and lets support those who have lost everything.

  • Comment number 87.

    It will be a tremendous opportunity for the criminal gangs next year to replicate this looting spree during the Olympics. The majority of police manpower will be committed to protecting the teams, venues and spectators from a very real and significant terrorist threat. The very real prospect of this occurring is spine chilling.

  • Comment number 88.

    How long is it since London, Birmingham, Inner Bristol, etc been English ?
    The English abandoned their Cities forty years ago.

  • Comment number 89.

    It is doubtful that they will be able to root such epic corruption out of their police force in such little time.

  • Comment number 90.

    As a dual UK/Australian national, I'm mortified by the disgraceful events of the past few days, which have been and still are the top news item on every bulletin here in Australia. ABC News showed an interview this morning with a restaurateur whose customers were mugged of all their valuables by gangs of oiks. The publicity is, needless to say, appalling.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    I was in London a couple of months ago and found it safe. I was staying in Shepherds Bush and visited some Olympic venues such as Greenwich and felt safe and saw no crime.
    I think that the Duggan shooting has been the spark and these people who have no jobs, reduced benefits and a hatred of the police and authority in general have took advantage of that. We are a liberal country always have been and that is a strength in that we allow protest and debate but it is also a weakness. I would hate to see in particular the army brought in because we are not that type of country however order needs to be restored.
    I think for the future the water cannon option we have to be explored and as a punishment get these people to clear up the mess they have made increase their self worth (or try to). Or get them doing community service at Olympic projects

  • Comment number 93.

    I was 15 when the Toxteth riots kicked off, again Police brutality against minorities was the cause and I experienced the fear when mob rule takes over that people are experiencing now.

    Back then tear gas was used for the first time on the British mainland but the elf n safety culture we have now would no doubt prevent that option, risk assesments and all that.

    However, I moved to Scotland 9 years ago and Glasgow, like Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham & London has all the ingredients for people to riot such as poverty and lack of prospects etc but it won't kick off up here...why ?

    Scots are a proud people and they don't take crap off anyone, they certainly don't need the Police to back them up. If a mob of neds up here tried to start a riot they would be rapidly smacked down by members of the public, such as when terrorists attacked Glasgow airport and were jumped on and beaten up...that is something that is lacking in community spirit anymore.

    As for Independence Scotland has more arable land than England, more Green energy windfarms, hydro-electrical and wave energy as well as the oil rigs and all the purest freshest water it could ever need at a fraction of the cost. It could more than stand on it's own two feet exporting all the surplus food, water and energy to England. There was even a story recently when windfarms had to be turned off because the English could not afford to buy the surplus energy due to budget cuts.

    You may want Independence in England but you would have higher food and utility costs as a result so would pay for it anyway.

  • Comment number 94.

    It did not take much for 'dirty loundry' to surface so that the whole world can see what kind of role model society Britain has. Further to the point, NATO member states, in particular Britain, are quite eager attacking other countries to force their leaders out of office, as opposed to own member states.

  • Comment number 95.


    "Long ago, violent music and films should have been banned."

    Oh yeah, because music and films are really the problem here. Sorry, but this is a pathetic argument. Violent music, films and games don't MAKE people violent. I play the Grand Theft Auto games, I kill people on computer games. That doesn't make me want to do these things in real life! The problem is society in general thinks it's acceptable to act like hooligans. Britain has a culture issue. Racism and ignorance are the real problem. Not games and entertainment.

  • Comment number 96.

    I can't decide what shames us more, the behaviour of these rioters or the utter rubbish posted by some people on this forum. If this is anything to go by, society is doomed. Not because of cuts, MPs' expenses, police corruption and all the other excuses so often used to explain people's 'disengagement' but because of the lack of any national pride or common cause felt by so many. Quite frankly, some of you are no better than the rioters.

  • Comment number 97.

    stennylfc: This is off-topic, but I can't believe you heard in Scotland that 'wind farms were turned off because England couldn't afford to buy the electricity due to budget cuts'. They were turned off because the grid had an oversupply of electricity (the problem with wind is it is erratic) and they were still PAID even though they weren't operating. Secondly 'budget cuts' don't come into it as electricity is not supplied by the state, but by very profitable private companies. Not sure what propaganda you're reading up there but it seems suitably bizarre.

    But back to the issue at hand, is this really a suitable time to be claiming the moral high ground and stating how superior Scottish society is? People are being burned out of their homes. And who knows where it will end - there are parts of England affected tonight who wouldn't have expected it to reach them either.

  • Comment number 98.

    Violent games and music!! Don't make me laugh!! They are just the latest medium and cannot be blamed. If you are going to blame such things you should then also go on to ban any and all references to war and violence. Perhaps we should rewrite history and erase all reference to the crimes of the Nazi's or serial killers. After all some youth may read about it and then do the same. What a load of old tosh!!!

    The problem is plain and simple. The UK's authorities and governments are too soft. They allow their decision making to be too heavily influenced by liberalised blind fools who put morals over common sense and think that discussion and understanding are the ways to deal with deep rooted social problems.

    This country has been over run with scum and it is all our faults for allowing it to get to this stage. Police cannot police, teachers cannot teach and the government cannot govern. Slowly but surely people have been brainwashed and become soft. For many the mere though of using force or severe punishment has become barbaric in nature. Scum bags like we have seen on British streets over the last few days thrive on this attitude and they know that they can do whatever they wish and the worst penalty that awaits them is going to be a prison sentence at the very worst. WHen you look at the life these people are living and those who they spend their lives in association with what does prison mean.

    They end up associating with similar scum on the inside so no big change there. The only major change is that they no longer have to think for themselves and everything is laid on. Much easier than the daily grind of having to make ends meet on the outside for such a lazy pointless generation.

    If they were to declare marshal law and put the army on the streets armed, no plastic bullet rubbish, they would scurry away like frightened rats from a sinking ship. If the UK doesn't sort itself out and quickly then I truly believe it is over. We will be calling for help from overseas and they will be ferrying any decent folks out as refugees.

    I left the UK a long time ago now and live in China. Whilst there are many things wrong with this place one thing I do respect them for is their ability to deal with problems in society, swiftly and appropriately. I can walk down the streets at 2am without the fear of some idiot swinging a bottle in my face or mugging me and I don't have to spend my day looking at graffiti and smashed up public property.

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

    the games are next year, the riots will be over by then .... why will we need police at the events ?
    Shows the state the country is in really .....


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