Rioting in London sparked 'copycat' behaviour

 

Manchester could have been spared the August riots if police in London had acted sooner, according to the city's chief constable.

Greater Manchester Police chief Peter Fahy told BBC Panorama that copycat violence broke out after people saw rioters were "getting away with" their behaviour in the capital.

Mr Fahy said: "A certain group of people saw what was happening in London and decided they seemed to be getting away with it.

"The authorities weren't in control and they decided they wanted their opportunity."

He told the programme he did not regret the decision to send 100 officers from Greater Manchester Police to help deal with the situation in London.

"We knew what was absolutely critical was that there needed to be control of London. Because that was just creating more and more copycat violence up here."

Mr Fahy added: "I think you'd have to say with hindsight if London had been under control sooner we probably would not have faced the problems in Manchester."

Manchester Police have arrested more than 350 people in connection with the riots.

Mr Fahy told the programme the force is still tracking down hundreds of suspects from at least 300 crime scenes.

Early findings from the Metropolitan Police's review into its policing of the riots concluded that too few officers were deployed on the first night of violence.

The disturbances began in Tottenham, north London, on Saturday August 6 in response to the fatal police shooting of father-of-four Mark Duggan, 29, and spread throughout the capital and then across England.

Scotland Yard said it had about 3,000 policemen and women on duty across London on the first night of the riots, and it deployed 480 trained public order officers to the disorder in Tottenham.

By Monday August 8, by far the worst night of violence in the capital, there were around 6,000 officers on duty, of whom 1,900 had specialist public order training.

The Met Police review said the scale of the disorder and the speed with which it spread to 22 of London's 32 boroughs on a single night made it "unprecedented".

The force also said it was re-examining how it draws intelligence from social media like Twitter and Facebook.

The riots in the capital followed the resignations in July of the then Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, defended the actions of the Met.

"I think any police force in the world would have found it extremely difficult to cope with the rapidly escalating violence that we experienced in London," he said.

He added: "Peter Fahy is a man who is held in high regard and respect and somebody we should listen to, but the officers in London did a magnificent job, putting their lives on the line to protect their communities.

"It took 16,000 officers to actually get the riots under control and there were officers from all around the country. I don't think anybody expected to see the disorder escalate so rapidly and become so widespread.

"I am sure it is not Peter Fahy's intention to criticise officers who policed the riots in any shape or form. I would suppose that he is trying to make a serious statement.

"More than 250 officers were injured during the riots and many of them are still suffering as a result of these injuries. Our thoughts are with them and they should be commended for their actions."

PA

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
News
news
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on