London riots: Confidence remains in police, poll says

Londoners believe the Metropolitan Police is doing a good job despite criticism of it during the riots, according to a BBC London poll.

The survey found 77% thought the Met was doing a very or fairly good job.

And 56% thought it did a very good or fairly good job of handling the violence and looting in August.

The poll found 78% wanted the police to use curfews to tackle future riots, 72% wanted water cannons, 50% called for tear gas and 38% for rubber bullets.

The poll, commissioned for BBC London's Inside Out Programme, showed 55% agreed that police should have powers to block social networking sites during riots.

Services such as Twitter and Blackberry Messenger were used by people to co-ordinate the violence and looting.

Thousands arrested

The poll also shows 52% were confident that the Met would be could protect the public in any future riots.

And 42% thought the police service should be protected from cuts. Londoners only placed the NHS (77%) and schools (59%) higher in services they want to see unaffected.

But 62% said they people should be allowed to use physical violence to protect their property and communities if there was another outbreak of such violence.

The riots began in Tottenham, north London, on 7 August after the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan three days earlier.

The riots then spread to other parts of London, and other cities in England over the next few days.

In London there have been about 3,000 arrests with about 1,800 having been charged.

During the riots there was disorder in 22 out of 32 London boroughs, and forensic examiners have been working on at least 1,300 crime scenes.

The Met had been criticised for standing by and allowing people to loot shops and for not having enough officers on the streets.

But one officer, PC Paul Warner, told Inside Out that there were huge challenges for the police during the disorder.

"The first thing that hit me as I came out of the van was a sensory overload," he said.

"You had these figures silhouetted against the flames of the fires that they'd started.

"You had the smell of the petrol and the buildings that were on fire, and this massive shouting and chanting," he added.

Ipsos/Mori carried out the survey on behalf of the BBC and interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 16+ across London between 23-25 September.

The Inside Out riots special is on Monday at 19:30 BST on BBC One in London.

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