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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable