No payout for victims of Nottingham's August 'riots'

Car damaged in Pym Street, St Ann's
Image caption Vehicle damage is not covered by the 1886 Riot Damages Act

Nottinghamshire Police Authority says it will not pay out for damage incurred during the summer disturbances because of the legal definition of a riot.

Under the 1886 Riot Damages Act a business can claim from a fund held by police authorities.

The 1986 Public Order Act states a riot is 12 or more people present together using violence in a common purpose.

The authority said if only 10 people damaged a shop it would not count as rioting.

According to the authority, none of the claims it received after the unrest could be legally defined as a result of rioting.

More than 100 people were arrested and 75 were charged after cars, pubs and shops were damaged in August.

It would therefore be classed as criminal damage and would be up to an insurance company to pay out, the authority said.

'No evidence'

The authority said that 20 potential claims were considered, but some were discounted because vehicle damage was not covered under the Riot Damages Act.

One claimant did not have insurance protection and would not receive any compensation.

The total value of claims was about £51,000 for Nottinghamshire.

Graham Trudgill, from the British Insurance Brokers Association, said: "Although 125 people were arrested it seems that the police are trying to say that less than 12 people were involved in each of the incidents.

"If they can say that, it means they don't have to pay under the act.

"It means the victims, that don't have insurance, will not get any help whatsoever."

However, Mr Trudgill added victims without insurance could challenge the authority's decision with the help of local MPs and lawyers.

Glynn Gilfoyle, vice-chair of the authority, said members had carefully looked at each claim and assessed the validity against the criteria within the act.

He said: "While I'm sure that people will be disappointed, we cannot pay out taxpayers' money without the appropriate evidence that this is justified.

"While undoubtedly criminal damage has taken place we have no evidence that this is the result of a riot and the criteria, as stipulated within the act, has not been met."

During the trouble on 9 August a group of up to 40 people attacked Canning Circus police station in Nottingham city centre with petrol bombs.

About 30 people attacked houses and cars in the St Ann's area the day before.

Mr Gilfoyle said: "There were lots of people milling about.

"But what we have to look at is individual cases and the ones that have been presented to the authority do not meet a claim under the act."

Correction 21/12/2011: This story has been amended, after information provided was shown to be inaccurate, to make it clear that the 1986 Public Order Act defined a riot as consisting of 12 or more people, rather than the 1886 Riot Damages Act.

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