UK Riots (04 Aug-09 Aug 2011), BlackBery, Twitter and Facebook

1.The riots provide such a fertile soil for thought! Are the looters right or wrong? Why did they actually do it? How did the police handle the riots? Who is to blame for the riots to happen, etc. 2. Look into these two groups: Group 1: Blackbery, Facebook, Twitter, flash events Group 2: dictators, anarchists, terrorists, police, students, governments What thoughts of link between them come into your mind? Thank you. Vlado Stoenchev


London riots

The death of Mark Duggan

08/04/2011 06:15pm

The Metropolitan Police stopped a minicab which was carrying Duggan as a passenger at about 18:15 BST on 4 August 2011 to attempt to arrest him. In the course of arresting him, the police fired twice, killing Duggan with a single gunshot to the chest. Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and medics from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service attended, but Duggan was pronounced dead at scene at 6:41 BST.

Initially, a spokesman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is reported to have stated that they "understand the officer was shot first before the male was shot." A bullet was found embedded in a radio worn by a policeman, but initial ballistics tests on the projectile indicate it was a "jacketed round", a police issue bullet fired from a Heckler & Koch MP5 semi-automatic carbine, as used by the police. Its presence may have been due to a ricochet or overpenetration. The IPCC stated that a loaded Bruni BBM blank-firing pistol converted to fire live rounds was recovered from the scene. The IPCC had commissioned tests on the pistol by the Forensic Science Service and had received advice that it was an illegal firearm. The gun was wrapped in a sock, a practice allegedly used to avoid leaving evidence if it was used. The IPCC announced on 9 August that there was no evidence that the gun had been fired, that this had not been ruled out and further tests were being conducted.

According to an eyewitness, a police officer had "shouted to the man to stop 'a couple of times', but he had not heeded the warning". A Metropolitan Police Federation representative asserted that the officer who killed Duggan had "an honest-held belief that he was in imminent danger of him and his colleagues being shot".

The police who shot Duggan were part of the Specialist Firearms Command (CO19), accompanying officers from Operation Trident, a London Metropolitan police unit which deals with black-on-black gun crime.

Mark Duggan shot by police at Ferry Lane, Tottenham

08/04/2011 06:15 pm

18:15 BST - Mark Duggan, 29, is shot dead by police at Ferry Lane, Tottenham.

The death occurs during an operation where specialist firearm officers and officers from Operation Trident, the unit which deals with gun crime in the African and Caribbean communities, are attempting to carry out an arrest.

Mr Duggan is a passenger in a minicab and is shot after an apparent exchange of fire. A police officer's radio is later found to have a bullet lodged in it.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announces it will investigate the incident and later says it believes two shots were fired by police. It also confirms that an illegal firearm was recovered from the scene.

Violence begins in Tottenham


20:20 BST -The violence begins as bottles are thrown at two patrol cars close to the police station. One of the vehicles is set alight, while the other is pushed into the middle of the road before also being torched.

Unconfirmed reports say the incident was sparked off by a confrontation between a teenage protester and a police officer.

Riot officers from the Territorial Support Group and police on horseback are deployed to disperse the crowds but come under attack from bottles, fireworks and other missiles.

300 protest outside Tottenham police station


Around 300 people gather outside Tottenham police station after marching from Broadwater Farm estate. They say they want "justice" for Mr Duggan and his family.

Officers are forced to close the High Road and put traffic diversions in place. Eyewitnesses report that the protest begins peacefully.

49 'primary fires' addressed by London Fire Brigade


20:45 BST - The London Fire Brigade receives its first calls to attend and by 04:30 BST the following morning has dealt with 49 "primary" fires in the Tottenham area and received more than 250 emergency calls from the public.

No firefighters are injured in the disturbances but some are threatened by rioters, according to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

Violence spreads


22:45 BST - As the violence continues, a double-decker bus is burnt out and more petrol bombs are thrown at police and buildings. Shops set alight in the area include an Aldi supermarket and a carpet shop.

Looting is reported throughout the night and some thieves take the opportunity to load up car boots and shopping trolleys with stolen goods. Vision Express, Boots, Argos and JD Sports are among the shops affected.


March of Dugan's relatives meet with poluice

08/06/2011 05:30pm

At about 17:30 BST on 6 August 2011, Duggan's relatives and local residents marched from Broadwater Farm to Tottenham Police Station. The demonstrators wanted information from police about the circumstances of Duggan's death. A chief inspector spoke with the demonstrators, who demanded to see a higher-ranking officer.

Riots start in Tottenham, Tottenham Hale, Wood Green

08/06/2011 07:00 pm

'Riots start in Tottenham':

Two police cars attacked and set on fire

08/06/2011 08:20pm

About 20:20 BST, some members of the waiting crowd attacked two nearby police cars, setting them on fire. According to Metropolitan Police Commander Adrian Hanstock, the violence was started by "certain elements, who were not involved with the vigil".

First online gathering of people mourning

08/06/2011 10:30pm

Certainly, the first online gathering of people mourning – and soon vowing to avenge – the death of Tottenham resident Mark Duggan took place on Facebook. Some of those behind the page, which now boasts more than 7,500 fans, launched into action shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday evening – more than five hours after the first public show of protest, outside the police station on Tottenham High Road.

Police and Fire service report

08/07/2011 00:00

12:00 BST - Fire crews have all the fires under control but are still damping down some burnt-out buildings. Scenes of crime officers begin investigating and gathering evidence.

Police say 26 police officers were injured in the riots and two remain in hospital. In total, 55 arrests have been made.


Looting at Oxford Circus

08/07/2011 10:30

22:30 BST - Reports on Twitter of a police presence at Oxford Circus in London's West End. Police later say a mob of around 50 people damaged property in the area.

Investigation starts

08/07/2011 4:20 pm

16:20 BST - Police announce the launch of Operation Withern to investigate the riots in Tottenham.

Worrying news from Enfield

08/07/2011 6:28 pm

18:28 BST - Police are called to High Street Enfield after reports shop windows are being smashed. A police vehicle is damaged.


Riots in Brixton

08/07/2011 06:30 pm

18:30 BST - Three police officers are injured after intervening in an altercation in Brixton, south London. Missiles are thrown.

100 hooded youngsters gather at Enfield police station

08/07/2011 07:45 pm

19:45 BST - Around 100 hooded youths gather outside Enfield Police Station.

Mark Duggan fired at police before being shot at.

08/07/2011 09:30 pm

21:30 BST -The Guardian newspaper quotes a source as saying a bullet found in a police radio after Mr Duggan's death was police issue.

Violence spreds in London

08/08/2011 00:45

00:45 BST - Six fire engines and 30 firefighters are despatched to a blaze at a Foot Locker store on Brixton Road, after it is set alight.

Three officers are injured after being hit by a vehicle in Chingford Mount, Waltham Forest. The officers had been making arrests after a shop was looted.

Police say a police vehicle windscreen was smashed during a disturbance in Islington and a Tesco store in Ponders End has been vandalised and looted

Police describe events as 'a copycat criminal activity'

08/08/2011 02:20

02:20 BST - Scotland Yard says police are responding to copycat criminal activity across London. In a statement it says "small and mobile groups" of looters have been have been targeting areas of north, east and south London.

Police say gangs of youths are continuing to attack officers and shops are being targeted in Waltham Forest.

In Enfield, the High Street remains cordoned off after disorder in the area was contained. The situation in Walthamstow is said to be under control after some 30 youths - many in masks - vandalised and looted shops there.
02:20 BST - Scotland Yard says police are responding to copycat criminal activity across London. In a statement it says "small and mobile groups" of looters have been have been targeting areas of north, east and south London.

Police say gangs of youths are continuing to attack officers and shops are being targeted in Waltham Forest.

In Enfield, the High Street remains cordoned off after disorder in the area was contained. The situation in Walthamstow is said to be under control after some 30 youths - many in masks - vandalised and looted shops there.

London Fire Brigade is busy

08/08/2011 02:38

02:38 BST - The London Fire Brigade says firefighters have been called to a number of fires as a direct result of disturbances in the Enfield, Brixton and Walthamstow areas. Six fire engines and 30 firefighters are fighting a blaze at a shop on Brixton road.

Skirmishes in Hackney

08/08/2011 05:19

17:19 BST - Skirmishes break out between police and groups of young people in Hackney. The trouble reportedly started when a man was stopped and searched by police, but nothing was found.


London Mayor interrupts family holiday

08/08/2011 05:39

17:39 BST - Spokesman for Mayor of London Boris Johnson says he is interrupting his family holiday to return to the capital to deal with the situation.

police arrests

08/08/2011 06:15

06:15 BST - The Metropolitan Police say a further 100 arrests have been made and 16 people charged in relation to disturbances overnight on Sunday.


Unrest spreading

08/08/2011 06:45 pm

18:45 BST - Video footage from Lewisham, south London, shows a fire burning in a street where at least one vehicle has been set ablaze.

20:07 BST - West Midlands Police say some shop windows have been smashed in various locations, with property stolen.

20:58 BST - Aerial footage is now showing several fires burning in Croydon, south London.

21:50 BST - A BBC correspondent reports seeing a fire burning in Clapham High Street but he can't see any police besides a police roadblock further up the road.

The Prime Minister cuts his holiday

08/08/2011 09:33 pm

21:33 BST - The Prime Minister is to cut short his holiday because the situation has "demonstrably worsened", it is reported.

Essex and Suffolk police send enforcements to London

08/08/2011 10:42 pm

22:42 BST - Essex and Suffolk Police confirm they have sent officers to London to assist Metropolitan Police colleagues.

Woolwich-looters undisturbed by police

08/08/2011 11:05 pm

23:05 BST - A BBC producer reports that phone shops are being looted in Woolwich High Street. He says there are several hundred youths involved, but there are no police around. There is also a burnt-out police car.

40 vehicles set on fire in Nottingham

08/08/2011 11:20 pm

23:30 BST - About 40 vehicles were damaged in a night of violence in Nottingham described by one senior officer as "motivated" by the London riots. Most of the incidents happened in the St Ann's area, but police foiled an attempt to break into the Victoria Centre in the city centre. The trouble lasted about three hours.

Ealing is looted

08/08/2011 11:27 pm

23:27 BST - Rioting is taking place in Ealing, west London, where the windows of a Tesco supermarket have been put out, a car is on fire and rubbish is strewn in public areas. There is also a fire in Haven Green park, opposite Ealing Broadway Tube.


Opposition leader Ed Miliband returns from holiday

08/08/2011 11:49 pm

23:49 BST - Labour leader Ed Miliband is returning early from his holiday in Devon because of the riots, it is reported. He is due back in London on Tuesday morning.

Home Secretary Theresa May unveils so many problems with police laid bare


In a speech in London, Home secretary says:
1. "In the fast-moving situation we have seen in the last week, we need to make sure the police have all the powers that are necessary
2. It is time to consider whether police need a power 'to impose a general curfew in a particular area' ( to clear the streets and create "no-go" areas for the public)....It's something that we're going to look at to address whether, and to what extent, we may need to change the law.
3. The home secretary said the government was also contemplating tougher powers to impose curfews on individual teenagers under the age of 16.
4. "I think we need to look at dispersal powers as well, because those do require an upfront designation of an area.
5."It's clear to me that, as long as we tolerate the kind of antisocial behaviour that takes place every day up and down the country, we will continue to see high levels of crime, a lack of respect for private property and a contempt for community life."
6. "They (police) also need strong leaders – single-minded crimefighters who get to the top and measure their own performance on nothing but taking the fight to lawbreakers
7.She added that controversial proposals to replace police authorities with elected police and crime commissioners from next year, and the introduction of a new National Crime Agency, were now more important than ever.
8.The home secretary also defended her decision not to delay the appointment of the new Metropolitan police commissioner to enable a foreign national, such as Bill Bratton, to apply for the job.
9.She is also writing to Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, saying forces should be given clearer guidance on tactics, pre-emptive action, the number of officers trained in public order policing, the need for forces to assist others, and the appropriate arrest policy.
O'Connor warned earlier this year that more than two in five forces were unprepared to help police major protests.
10.May rejected calls from senior officers to reconsider the government's 20% cuts to police budgets in the wake of the riots.


Police used Twitter

09/09/2011 03:00pm

Police used Twitter to provide information updates during the riots, and said they sent officers to protect major London shopping centers and the 2012 Olympics sites after intercepting messages on Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger saying they were targets for rioters.


UK riots: Blackberry hit by hackers after helping police

09/10/2011 03:00pm

Blackberry phone maker Research in Motion is cooperating with UK police following the riots in UK, and is facing threats from a hacking group as a result. The move has seen the Canadian firm's Inside BlackBerry blog hacked by a group called Team Poison, which claimed responsibility for posting its logo and a statement condemning RIM's cooperation with police.
Blackberry UK realeased a statement on Twitter saying it would work with authorities but did not specify in what way. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” the tweet read. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.”

However, BlackBerry’s response has sparked a wide array of criticism on Twitter, as well as a threat from Team Poison. The hackers posted a warning on the company’s blog threatening Research In Motion and Blackberry. The post appeared briefly before it was taken down.

According to the Guardian, the statement reads: “You WillNOTassist the UK Police because if you do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason.

“If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information and access to peoples BlackBerry Messengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g. – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, weWILLmake this information public and pass it onto rioters.”

TeamPoison then went on to state that it didn't stand behind the riots, except for the parts in which civilians fight with law enforcement: "p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says 'the blackberry employees are innocent' no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police."
Team Poison has previously claimed responsibility for defacing Facebook and hacking into another hacking group, LulzSec, best known for hacking into British crime agencies, two Brazilian government-owned websites, and an Arizona law-enforcement website.

RIM’s encrypted message service has been blamed in previous years to aiding militant attacks in India and allowing men and women to communicate in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. BBM has cooperated with local authorities in each of those countries.


Two thugs jailed for using Facebook


Two thugs were jailed yesterday for inciting riot on the social networking website Facebook. This is just one of many convictions that have taken place over the last couple of days in the aftermath of the London riots that spread across the United Kingdom.

Perry Sutcliffe – Keenan from Warrington set up a Facebook page called ‘The Warrington Riots’. He urged rioters to meet up and cause mayhem but his plan was thwarted before anything could take place.

He was jailed for 4 years, although his brother stated that he was drunk when he created the page ‘for a laugh’.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, who lives in Northwich, was also jailed for 4 years after creating a page called ‘Smash Down Northwich Town’.

He instructed members of his gang ‘Mob Hill Massive’ and any other would be rioters to meet at a local McDonalds. However, police also managed to put a halt to this plan before any rioting or looting could actually take place.

The opinion on the sentences seems to vary a lot from members of the public. A lot of people have said that these terms are too harsh, but many people are very pleased.


Riots spread outside London

Riots spread in Birmingham, West Bromwich, Manchester, Salford, Leicester, Clapham, Wolverhampton

BlackBery Messenger calls for riots

08/07/2011 03:30pm

'...the most powerful and up to the minute rallying appears to have taken place on a more covert social network: BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

Using BlackBerry handsets – the smartphone of choice for the majority (37%) of British teens, according to last week's Ofcom study – BBM allows users to send one-to-many messages to their network of contacts, who are connected by "BBM PINs". For many teens armed with a BlackBerry, BBM has replaced text messaging because it is free, instant and more part of a much larger community than regular SMS.

And unlike Twitter or Facebook, many BBM messages are untraceable by the authorities (which is why, in large part, BBM is so favoured by Emirati teens to spread illicit gossip about officialdom).

One BBM broadcast sent on Sunday, which has been shown to the Guardian by multiple sources, calls on "everyone from all sides of London" to vandalise shops on Oxford street.

It said: "Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O Dead the ends and colour war for now so if you see a brother... SALUT! if you see a fed... SHOOT!"

Another sent shortly before the outbreak of violence in Enfield on Sunday afternoon reads: "Everyone in edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!".

Jenny Jones, the former deputy mayor of London, blamed an under-resourced force for missing the tweets and the status updates. "It's quite possible if they had more resources they could have picked up on this," she said.


A girl sentenced for inciting violence over BlackBery Messenger

08/08/2011 03:00pm

The 18-year-old, from Clacton, was accused of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007, Essex police said.

She allegedly sent a message on BBM on Monday Aug 8 encouraging friends in the seaside town to copy scenes of violence and looting that were spreading across England.
The unnamed teenager has been bailed to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Sept 1. Her case is among the first in which police have specifically cited BBM. A 27-year-old man from Southampton was also charged with inciting violence via the service yesterday. Attention has focused on BBM, provided to BlackBerry owners by the Canadian firm RIM, since it emerged that users were passing around messages that encouraged rioting by appointment.

Riots begin in Birmingham

08/08/2011 7:30 pm

7:30 pm: Rioting begins in Birmingham. Police cordon off and guard Pallasades shopping centre, central Birmingham.

T-Mobile shop looted

08/08/2011 7:49 pm

7:49pm: City centre branch of T-Mobile reported looted.

station and bus services halted in city centre

08/08/2011 8:10 pm

8:10pm: New Street Station and bus services halted. Reports around this time that taxis were also avoiding city centre

Riots start in Hantsworth

08/08/2011 8:49 pm

8:49pm: First reports of disorder in Handsworth, Kings Heath

Broadway plaza closed

08/08/2011 9:02 pm

9:12pm: Broadway Plaza closed

crowds gathering at the Mailbox, Birmingham city centre

08/08/2011 9:02 pm

9:02pm: Reported crowds at the Mailbox, city centre

A bull statue attacked

08/08/2011 9:20 pm

9:20pm: Attempts to saw off the head of the bull statue in the Bullring (unconfirmed).

Riot Police take to streets

08/08/2011 9:22 pm

9:22pm: Riot police take to streets.

Ambulances heading in to town, later attacked

08/08/2011 9:24 pm

9:24pm: Ambulances seen heading in to town. Later reports say 11 ambulances, 24 people injured.

Tension piles at Kings Heath, Digbeth

08/08/2011 9:25 pm

9:25pm: Large crowd and police gather at Kings Heath. Sirens and helicopters reported in Digbeth.

Chinatown closed.

08/08/2011 9:26 pm

9:26pm: Chinatown closed.

Shops looted

08/08/2011 9:27 pm

9:27pm: Reported attack on Tesco, Broad Street. House of Fraser, Foot Locker and Primark all reported as being looted.

More shops looted

08/08/2011 9:52 pm

9:52pm: Asda, Chelmsley Wood reported looted.

Police gather in force

08/08/2011 9:58 pm

9:58pm: Police gather in force at Children’s Hospital, rioters diverted. Aston Expressway closed (inbound at A38 Aston Rd/A4540)

Maplins looted

08/08/2011 10:30 pm

10:30pm: Maplins reported looted.

Looting rages

08/08/2011 10:53 pm

10:53pm: Armani, Mailbox reported looted. Jessops reported looted

Fires at Moorstreet


7.38 Fires reported at Moorstreet

As city centre is reported "contained"...

08/09/2011 00:05 am

12:05am: City centre reported as being generally “contained”

...a police station is on fire

08/09/2011 00:17 am

12:17am: Handworth Police station confirmed as being on fire.

Facebook call "Kill a million police"-one of many examples

08/09/2011 05:00pm

A teenager who used Facebook to encourage the "killing of a million police officers" during the rioting in Nottingham has been locked up for 33 months. Amed Pelle incited his 2,000 friends to commit violence and looting-asking if any of them 'wanted anything' from a shop which was later attacked. The jobless 18-year-old, who said he was inspired by the violent film Shank, posted three messages on his Facebook 'wall' on August 9-hours before serious disorder broke out in his home city. The first two read'Nottz Riot whose onit?' and 'Kill one black youth, we kill a million Fedz (police), riot till we own cities.' In his third message, Pelle wrote:'Rioting 2nyt anyone want anything from [fashion shop] Flannels?' The store, in Nottingham city centre, had its windows smashed hours later.
Sentencing Pelle to two years and nine months in a young offenders' institution yesterday, judge John Milmo told him: 'Your offence was designed to, and well have lead to, increased numbers on the street intent on violence to persons and property. Aclear signal needs to be send out that criminal conduct of the kind demonstrated in these cases is out bof order.'
Pelle was arrested after police officers monitored social networking sites during the riots. He pleaded guilty to a breach of section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.
"Source":a Daily Mayl article 'Cameron ditches ..., Aug 26, 2011, page 10

Riot police vans positioned at the mailbox

08/09/2011 6:32 pm

6.32 Riot vans at the mailbox

Bullring broken into

08/09/2011 6:40 pm

6.40 Bullring broken into

Riot police presence in Wolverhampton

08/09/2011 7:02 pm

7.02 Riot police presence in Wolverhampton evident

Newhall Street shop fronts smashed

08/09/2011 7:11 pm

7.11 Shop fronts smashed in Newhall Street

A crowd of 200 people gathered at New Street Station

08/09/2011 7:16 pm

7.16 Reports of 200 people barging past passengers at New Street Station

Pallasades entrance closed

08/09/2011 7:20 pm

7.20 Pallasades entrance to New St. & Livery St entrance to Snow Hill closed

Bullring made safe by police

08/09/2011 7:52 pm

7.52 Bullring made safe by police

Police arrest 3 people

08/09/2011 7:55 pm

7.55 WM Police arrest 3 people in the city centre

Police disperse mob in King's Heath

08/09/2011 7:56 pm

7.56 WM Police disperse mob in King’s Heath

Mob reported at West Bromwich

08/09/2011 8:05 pm

8.05 Large groups reported in West Bromwich

Car on fire at Moorstreet

08/09/2011 8:06 pm

8:06 Reports of a car on fire at Moorstreet

National Express orders coaches to garages

08/09/2011 8:34 pm

8.34 National Express say coaches will start to return to garages at 9:30pm

224 calls from the public to police so far

08/09/2011 9:28 pm

9.28 WM Police announce they have had 224 calls from the public this afternoon

Iceland shop in Harborne damaged

08/09/2011 9:30 pm

10.30 Reports of small damage to Iceland in Harborne

Aston Expressway sealed up

08/09/2011 9:31 pm

9.31 Aston Expressway is all sealed up

170 arrests made by police so far

08/09/2011 9:36 pm

9.36 WM Police announce they’ve made 170 arrests in last two days

Richer Sounds looted

08/09/2011 10:22 pm

10.22 Richer Sounds is looted

A 'hit-and-run accident in Birmingham-3 die


Haroon Jahan, 21, Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, died as they protected property. A man aged 32 has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Tariq Jahan urged people to stay calm, and said communities should be united.

TWO further arrests have been made in connection with the deaths of three men who were mown down by a car during the Birmingham riots.

Two men, aged 29 and 30 and from Birmingham, were arrested by detectives yesterday afternoon over the murders of Shahzad Ali, Abdul Musavir and Haroon Jahan.

Shahzad, Abdul and Haroon were all hit by a car on Dudley Road, Winson Green, in the early hours of August 10 while they were protecting property amid fears of looting.

Five men, 23-year-old Adam King, Joshua Donald, 26, Liam Young, 28, Ian Beckford, 30, and a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have all previously appeared at Birmingham Crown Court charged with murder and have been remanded in custody pending their trial.

Firearm discharged at a policeman

08/10/2011 00:28

00.28 Firearm reportedly discharged at a policeman in Aston


Police Accessed Blackberry Messages To Thwart Riots

08/05/2011 09:00 pm

Scotland Yard stopped attacks by rioters on iconic sites across London hours before they had been due to take place after managing to "break into" encrypted social messaging sites, it has emerged.

Attacks on the Olympics site, upmarket stores in Oxford Circus and the two Westfield shopping centres, in east and west London, had been plotted using BlackBerry Messenger.

Detectives made the breakthrough shortly before the planned attacks after scouring the mobile phones of people who had been arrested during the riots.

It gave them access to messages, planning riots and looting, which were bouncing around the heavily encrypted BlackBerry Messenger service.

But it also gave the Met other information, meaning they were able to use details gained from the seized phones to give officers "live time monitoring" of Blackberry Messenger and also Twitter.

By last Monday afternoon, they were able to monitor BlackBerry messaging and send extra officers to disrupt the planned attacks, which would have heightened the sense of danger felt by Londoners.

This Tuesday, police revealed they had considered switching off social messaging sites including BlackBerry Messenger and Twitter.

Testifying before MPs on the home affairs committee, the acting Metropolitan police commissioner, Tim Godwin, said police discovered they did not have the legal powers to do so, adding: "We did consider seeking the legal authority to switch it off. The legality is questionable, very questionable."

Godwin said that as well as social messaging sites being used to plan riots, they were a useful "intelligence asset" for police who were able to monitor them.

Last Monday, police chiefs sent officers to thwart the planned attacks on the Olympic site in Stratford, east London. Shops in the area also closed after "intelligence" obtained from social messaging sites of conspiracies to riot.

He said police were not "at this moment of time" asking the government for new powers to turn off social messaging sites during outbreaks of extreme disorder.

This Monday, the Guardian revealed that the government had drafted in the MI5 security service and the eavesdropping centre at GCHQ to join the hunt for those using social messaging to plot riots and work out how the heavily encrypted BlackBerry messaging could be "cracked" in future, in real time if need be.


Twitter traffic during the riots-chart


The Guardian has compiled a unique database of more than 2.5m tweets related to the riots, showing that the majority of surging social media traffic occurred after the first verified reports of incidents in an area.

Preliminary analysis of this Twitter activity in 12 riot locations shows the majority of surging social media traffic occurs after the first verified reports of incidents in an area, which could suggest that Twitter was used far more by those seeking to follow fast-moving events than to incite trouble – although it is not possible to say it played no role.

The tweets also reflect a shift in social media use during the week. Most reports place the initial disturbances in Tottenham between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday night. The number of tweets referencing the area surged in the wake of these first troubles: up from 15 between 7pm and 8pm to 15,000 between 10pm and 11pm.

Later in the week Twitter may even have helped spread warnings about trouble. On the following Tuesday Greater Manchester police gave a press conference at 2pm warning of potential issues later that day. This was mirrored by tweets mentioning the city jumping to over 1,000 an hour before trouble began, peaking at around 12,000 an hour after disturbances had started.

In areas such as Hackney Twitter filled with reports of stores closing early and police presence building in the area, hours ahead of the outbreak of trouble.

The Guardian database, which contains riot-related tweets sent between midnight on 6 August – the day riots began in Tottenham – and 8pm on 17 August, will be subject to more advanced analysis in the coming weeks as part of an ongoing investigation into the riots.

Several Facebook users have already been imprisoned for their use of the service during the unrest.

Two men who attempted to use Facebook to arrange riots, which did not materialise, were sentenced to four years in prison, while David Glyn Jones, 21, who posted: "Given the chance I'd love to smash up a police car, wouldn't you?", was sentenced to four months. The prime minister said he supported the "tough message" the court rulings had sent out


Facebook and the riots


What happened to rioters in court


What is the impact of a criminal record?


"Are courts acting out of character?


What is the evidence gangs were behind the riots?


Metropolitan Police investigates 3 300 riot offences


Could this be the reason?

08/09/2011 06:00

The proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds in England not in employment, education or training (Neet) has risen to 18.4%, official figures suggest.

The figure from the Department for Education is the highest for the second quarter since 2006, and is up from 16.3% last year.

Nearly a million (979,000) 16 to 24-year-olds were Neet between April and June this year, the figures show.

The government said it was boosting apprenticeships and 16 to 18 education.

Neets figures fluctuate during the academic year, peaking in the third quarter as school, college and university courses end.

But this year's 18 to 24 figures are the highest for the second quarter since comparable data was first published in 2006; the previous was 17.6% in 2008.

The figure is even higher for 19 to 24-year-olds, with 19.1% considered Neet.

The data is published for England only by the Department for Education, derived from the quarterly Labour Force Survey.


Facebook, Twitter, BlackBery-will they be shut or should they cooperate

08/09/2011 6:00

Executives from the social networks met the Home Secretary Theresa May after suggestions that the sites should be shut down during such public disturbances to prevent trouble spreading. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger - which allows users to send free-of-charge real-time messages - were said to have enabled looters and troublemakers to organise their movements during the recent riots, leaving no paper trail.
in contrast to his hints a fortnight ago, the Government has confirmed it will not be chasing more powers.

Taking control of networks, run by companies based outside the UK, could have proved technically challenging - and drawn unwelcome comparisons with repressive regimes abroad.

A Home Office spokesperson said it had been a "constructive meeting".

"The Home Secretary, along with the Culture Secretary and Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne, has held a constructive meeting with Acpo, the police and representatives from the social media industry," the spokesperson said.

"The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and cooperation to crack down on the networks being used for criminal behaviour.

"The government did not seek any additional powers to close down social media networks."
Delegates from Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion were joined by Lynne Owens, assistant commissioner of central operations at the Metropolitan Police.

A Facebook spokeswoman said: "We welcome the fact that this was a dialogue about working together to keep people safe rather than about imposing new restrictions on internet services.

"We were pleased to highlight our array of effective reporting tools and the relationships we have built with law enforcement to keep the site safe for the 30m people in the UK use Facebook - especially during times of crisis.
"There is no place for illegal activity on Facebook and we take firm action against those who breach our rules," she added.

The company pointed out that some of its sites - Supporting The Met Police Against The London Rioters, for example - had received nearly one million "likes".

Paul Lewis, a Guardian journalist who has examined the role of social network, has argued the positives outweighed the negatives.

Many people used the sites to avoid trouble rather than coordinate it, he has suggested.

BlackBerry and the riots

08/09/2011 06:00

How social networking influenced London riots

08/09/2011 06:00

Were The Riots A Wake-Up Call For Security?

08/09/2011 06:00

Were The Riots A Wake-Up Call For Security?

Riots across the UK from Sunday August 6th to August 9th 2011 cost an estimated £100 million through stock loss and property damage, as unprecedented violence flooded town centres throughout the country. North-west based security firm DW-OZ was recruited by local retail stores to postion guards in Manchester city centre on the Wednesday night after the raids, but the firm’s Head of Business Development Keith Doodson argues that like too much retail security this measure was the equivalent of closing the stable door after the horse had bolted. Doodson said: “You are not going to stop mass theft like that. You could have put 20 guards on Bang & Olufsen on that Tuesday night and the 300 looters still would have got in, but the retailer should still have had a full security audit prior to the riots.”

According to the Centre for Retail Research, £977 million was spent in the UK on loss prevention and security in 2010 however the cost of internal and external theft to the industry totalled £1.6 billion and £3.9 billion respectively during the year.

Doodson puts the increasing problem with loss down to economic factors, with tightened purse strings and rising inflation creating a fertile breeding ground for a criminal underclass.
“Even thieves are hard-pressed right now. The price of goods is going up, meaning stolen goods can generate increased revenues for criminals,” he added.
“Luxury goods in particular have become more attractive to shoplifters and to traders on the black market.”
Author Rachel Shteir investigated store theft for her book “The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting” and argues that thieves have always managed to find a way round any attempts to scupper them in the past.

Shteir argued: “Most technology designed to stop shoplifting does not have a terrific track record.

“Part of what drives shoplifting is cultural so it is difficult to stop. The more common pattern is for the crime to adapt to the technology, using foil to defeat EAS Electronic Article Surveillance tags for example.”
Doodson rejects that any political motive was behind the looting seen in recent riots however, and claims the shocking scenes of violence should simply act as a wake up call to UK retailers to improve the visibility of their theft deterrents.

“Armed or not, each store in America has guards and in European countries, such as Spain and France, you are increasingly seeing store guards that are trained as customer service operatives,” he said.

Full article

Met Release Disorder Figures

08/09/2011 12:00

Met Release Disorder Figures, Met Release Disorder Figures

Nearly 3,300 notifiable offences have been reported following the outbreaks of disorder across London two weeks ago, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

The statistics released by the Force show that the most common occurrence from August 6-9 was burglary – of which there were more than 1,100 cases – plus nearly 400 counts of criminal damage to motor vehicles.

There were 162 reports of arson and 310 reports of theft of personal property.

Suspects are still being detained in and around the Capital following the setting up of Operation Withern, a major investigation team led by the Specialist Crime Directorate.

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that 1,875 people have been arrested and looting in London. Of these nearly 1,100 have now been charged.

Force spokesman Cdr Simon Foy said: "We continue to work closely with London's communities and are extremely grateful for their invaluable assistance.

"But the scale of the task the Met's officers face is not to be underestimated. Twenty two of London's 32 boroughs were affected by the disorder and there are many more people who must answer for their actions.”

Cdr Foy said that the Force had around 20,000 hours of CCTV footage to trawl through – admitting this was likely to increase as the investigation progressed.

He said: “Forensic and crime scene examiners have been working on more than 1,100 crime scenes and more than 300 forensic submissions have already been made to labs.

“The Metropolitan Police is working closely with the CPS to ensure that cases are processed quickly. A large number of people have appeared in court and while some have already been convicted and received prison sentences.”


Police Move Against Disorder Suspects

08/09/2011 09:00 pm

With Prime Minister David Cameron pledging that the fightback against those responsible for disorder has begun, police have begun to move decisively against suspects.

Across the country, officers have been executing warrants, making arrests and recovering property apparently stolen during outbreaks of violence across the UK.


Courts sit through the night

08/09/2011 10:00 pm

Magistrates' Courts have again been sitting late into the night in a move to deal with a raft of cases arising from recent outbreaks of violence and looting across England.


One in four riot suspects had 10 previous offences


One in four people charged over the riots in England had committed more than 10 past offences, figures show.

Three-quarters had a previous caution or conviction, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures show, and those with a criminal record averaged 15 offences.

This showed "existing criminals were on the rampage" during last month's riots, said Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

The justice system needed changes "to ensure both effective punishment and reform to tackle reoffending", he said.
Writing in the Times earlier, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that social problems behind the riots had been allowed to fester "out of sight of the middle-class majority".
As part of a "robust social response" to problems in deprived areas, Mr Duncan Smith suggested efforts including:

Tackling gang culture
Support for parents and restoration of discipline in schools "to ensure that young people have the support networks they need throughout childhood"
A welfare system designed "so that work pays"
But he added: "The riots are not just about those at the bottom."

The "distorted morality ... has permeated our whole society, right through to the very top", he said.

"Whether in the banking crisis, phone hacking or the MPs' expenses scandal, we have seen a failure of responsibility from the leaders of our society."
"Last month the inner city finally came to call, and the country was shocked by what it saw," he wrote.

"Too many people have remained unaware of the true nature of life on some of our estates."

Many of these "dysfunctional communities ... had become fertile grounds for drug dealers, gang recruiters and violent moneylenders".
The MoJ analysis of riot-related court cases shows:

More than half of the 1,715 people who had appeared before the courts as of midday on Monday were aged 20 or under, including 364 under-18s
Of the juveniles, 45% had no previous convictions. Some 95 under 18s have already been sentenced - 69 to custody
Two in three suspects to have appeared before the courts have been remanded in custody
Of 315 people sentenced so far, 176 were given custodial sentences
According to the MoJ, the proportion locked up by magistrates was 43%, compared with 12% for similar offences in England and Wales 2010. The average sentence length was just over five months, compared with two-and-a-half months last year
34 people have been sent to custody for theft - 67% of those convicted, compared with 2% in 2010

For young people in these areas, gangs were filling "a vacuum left by other figures of authority, particularly the family".

This "vacuum of authority" was accompanied by a "distorted morality" that allowed looters to view "an absence of police protection as an open invitation to steal".
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke says this first detailed breakdown of the rioting and looting figures vindicates his analysis: too many criminals with too many convictions - and nobody bothering to stop them in their tracks.

But the headlines mask a much more complicated picture which will take time to reveal.

For a start, we don't know enough yet about the socio-economic backgrounds of the offenders - those figures should come later this year but nobody is promising.

Secondly, we have only a very simple breakdown of the previous convictions.

So, while a quarter of previous offences were theft, almost 40% were less serious summary or breach offences.

On one level, this could suggest many looters were not serious criminals. But given the younger profile of those involved, it could also mean the courts are dealing with people whose criminal careers had only just got going.

The search for answers is on - but we're still waiting for all the evidence.


Statistical bulletin on the public disorder of 6-9 Aug 2011


Criminal justice and sentencing statistics

This publication provides updated information on those brought before the courts for offences relating to the public disorder of 6th to 9th August 2011. Information on numbers brought before the courts, initial outcomes and sentencing is based on data available by midday on 12th October 2011; information used to analyse criminal histories, prison population and socio-economic factors is based on data available by midday on 28th September 2011.

Cases by area
Gender, Age and Ethnicity
Socio-economic indicators
Education information
Progress through the criminal justice system
Previous criminal history


Riot fires 'every 5 minutes'


Firefighters were battling blazes in London every five minutes as the riots marked the service's 'toughest test', according to a new report. London Fire Brigade attended at least 807 incidents over four days across the city last month. Firefighters also faced abuse from rioters, Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said.
Metro, 14 Sep 2011, p.12

England riot panel wants to publish its report in March 2012


An independent panel examining the summer riots which hit cities in England has said the scheme designed to pay out compensation needs an overhaul.

The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel has looked at the causes of the riots, how communities responded and ways to avoid a recurrence.

The 111-page report from the panel, chaired by former JobCentre Plus chief Darra Singh, is based on visits to areas affected by the riots, as well as meetings at a young offenders institution with some of the perpetrators.

The panel's full findings are expected to be published in March 2012.

When it was launched Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg asked the panel, which is not a full public inquiry, to examine:

Why riots broke out in some areas but not others
What motivated those who broke the law
How communities and key services like the police dealt with the trouble
The Cabinet Office separately commissioned fuller research into the areas affected
Riots panel

Traveloge hit by riots


14 Sep 2011-The summer riots cost budget hotel chain Traveloge £1 million as cancellations outstripped bookings, particularly in the capital. The trouble that swept through several English cities last month meant sales in the 13 weeks to August-which would have risen 17 percent-were up by only 15 percent.
Metro, p. 47, 14 Sep 2011

Riots: Police Round On Government


The officer at the helm of the Metropolitan police this morning took a swipe at the government's criticism of his force's handling of the riots.

Tim Godwin, acting commissioner of the Met (pictured), said: "I think after any event like this, people will always make comments who weren't there."

Both the home secretary, Theresa May, and the prime minister, David Cameron, were on holiday when the riots erupted last Saturday. Cameron only broke his holiday and arrived back in Britain after the third night of rioting.

There is anger at the Yard over the savaging the police received in the House of commons from the prime minister and May.

Godwin was speaking as he left this mornings meeting in Whitehall of Cobra, the government's emergency committee. One source told the Guardian that there was anger at the Yard after the PM's statement, adding police chiefs there were "appalled" by the remarks.

Godwin said he was receiving support "from a lot of quarters" when asked whether he was receiving the full backing of the home secretary.

"What I can say is that with the unprecedented scenes that we found in London, I have got some of the best commanders that we have seen in the world … that showed great restraint as well as great courage," Godwin said.

"As a result of that we were able to nip this in the bud after a few days. I think the issue around the numbers, the issue around the tactics – they are all police decisions and they are all made by my police commanders and myself.

"As a result of that we have now got a lot of public support, we are working hard to identify all the offenders and we will continue to work relentlessly if it takes us months."

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, rejected Theresa May's claim that she had ordered the "more robust" approach that quelled rioting in English cities.

Orde said tactics had changed because more officers were made available. The fact that MPs had come home from holiday was "an irrelevance".

May had "no power whatsoever" to cancel all police leave, Orde said. "The more robust policing tactics you saw were not a function of political interference; they were a function of the numbers being available to allow the chief constables to change their tactics," he told BBC's Newsnight.

Relations between the Conservative-led government and police chiefs are at an all-time low according to some sources.

Orde defended the police after David Cameron used an emergency debate on the riots in the Commons to critice their tactics.

"The fact that politicians chose to come back [from holiday] is an irrelevance in terms of the tactics that were by then developing. The more robust policing tactics you saw were not a function of political interference; they were a function of the numbers being available to allow the chief constables to change their tactics."


Could this be the key to the door?


Scum, thugs, feral rats, wolves, an army of ants on their BlackBerrys …
I studied in Liverpool in October 1981, three months after the Toxteth riots. I then moved to Tottenham, north London, in the wake of the Broadwater Farm riot in 1985, and then – after 15 riot-free years in the capital – on to Bradford not long after the 2001 riots.
In all conflagrations, I remember race being a major factor – between the black community and the police in Toxteth and Tottenham, and between the Asian and white communities in Bradford. There were other factors, too, such as recession and unemployment, to the extent that the Scarman report after Toxteth (though prompted by the 1981 Brixton riots) blamed poverty and deprivation for the troubles. Yet the spark (for Toxteth, Tottenham and Bradford) was a racial one.
The so-called sus laws – heavy-handed stop-and-search methods by police – had been taking their toll, and the arrest of a black man in public led to nine days of rioting in Toxteth. On the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham four years later, the death of a black woman during a police search of her home triggered a battle with police that ended with the murder of a policeman.

During the Bradford riots 10 years ago, Asian and white youths turned on each other and the police, caught in the middle, were accused by the Asian community of failing to provide protection. Ted Cantle's subsequent report on the Bradford riots concluded that part of the problem was segregated communities living "parallel lives", and coined the concept of "community cohesion", later adopted by the Labour government.
Since the riots of 1981 and 2001, Liverpool and Bradford have undergone major regeneration and racial tension has ceased to be an overriding issue. Research published last month by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that Bradford's real problem – poverty – has been overlooked, and that is despite the £3bn regeneration. Broadwater Farm saw major redevelopment, leading to a dramatic drop in crime and improved community spirit.

Cantle, now founder and executive chair of the Institute of Community Cohesion, believes that last week's riots were not about race. "In the 1980s, the riots were definitely about the black community, who were discriminated against, disadvantaged and had a hard time from the police and felt abused by them. A lot of that has changed. With the current riots, clearly, there's an element of basic criminality and sheer vandalism and opportunism. People look around and see newspaper hacking, burgeoning debts, the scandal of bankers' bonuses, MPs fiddling expenses, and they think, 'This is our turn to get our noses in the trough.' People forgot the difference between right and wrong."
But he thinks the issue of parenting is more nuanced than the government has portrayed it. "There's been so much emphasis on outsourcing parenting – pretending schools, Sure Start centres and community organisations are there to look after the kids, rather than reflect that actually parents are still responsible – that I think there's a major concern about how parents have partly felt disempowered by all that, but have also been prepared to take advantage of that disempowerment," he says.
But Claudia Webbe, an independent adviser to the Metropolitan police's Operation Trident, which aims to tackle gun crime in the black community, says underlying issues around stop and search remain.

"If you look at young black people in Tottenham now, they are still six, seven, eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts. Young people generally, black and white, are facing increasing stop and search. It's meant to be a tool of last resort used with the consent of the community," says Webbe. "A lot of tension around stop and search was bubbling up and part of that spilled over."

According to Steve Kavanagh, Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, there was a fear of stop and search in the early 2000s but he insists that as long as it is used appropriately, communities support it.

"In Haringey this year, there was a 100% increase in street robbery. Now that is people from the black, Asian, Turkish and white communities being robbed of their mobile phones, jewellery and everything else. The overwhelming number of black community representatives don't want us to be fearful of engaging around young, black, disenfranchised people who are committing crimes. They want a police service that is sensitive, professional, but assertive when it needs to be."

Police-community links, he adds, were strong throughout the recent rioting. "The police were not going to solve this alone, they were always going to solve it with the communities. We've had communication teams trying to get rid of rumours, getting emails out with messages that we've all signed up to. That's a hell of a journey from Scarman and even [Stephen] Lawrence. It's not a race issue or an age issue."

For Stephen Nze, who was involved in the action in Toxteth as a "naive 16-year-old" in 1981, last week's riots were a combination of reaction to the government and the banking crisis, as well as unemployment – youth unemployment is running at 20% in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. Now a youth worker in Toxteth, he says: "Everywhere's on a tinderbox, with the government and the bankers and all that. These kids are not stupid. I don't agree with violence and looting, none of it – this time round I've been out on the streets supporting the police and trying to stop kids from getting involved – but I do understand it. They went out and reacted. A little five-year-old has a tantrum, well these kids had a tantrum on a big scale.
Cantle, though, claims that the riots weren't about poverty – a view he shares with the prime minister. "A lot of the people arrested were not jobless, not without hope and not without money. There were some middle-class people arrested as well," says Cantle.

But he believes that government cuts could fuel tensions: "I think the cuts will make things worse. What we need at the moment is more investment in social institutions. We're not going to get out of this by heavier policing, however, it has to be done by communities and society itself. That requires money and a change in our values. The way we value things seems to rely heavily on materialism, possessions, the consumer society. But everybody would be suspicious of any government initiative on values. It's got to be a community-led process."

Look it this way: People from the 'ghettos' are 'crying for help'

  1. Leroy, 20, Clapham, South London:
    If that's what they feel they need to do to get people's respect and get noticed, I'm not going to argue with them or blame them for what they are doing...I'm angry and frustrated. I feel the same as them. Angry with everything – society, police, the way they treat us. They don't treat us like human beings. I've been stopped and searched and I've refused to give my details, and because I don't give my details the police officer says he's taking you for a strip search. I can't tell you why everyone decided to do this now but it has been a build-up over the past few years. Especially for people in my age group and younger.

  2. Nas, 28, involved in riots in Brixton, South London:
    There are different reasons [why people rioted], some are doing it for the right reasons, some just for the sake of doing crime, people have had enough. But even the people taking advantage have a reason. It's very hard to get jobs, these people are from poor areas, have nothing, they want stuff for free. Other people, like myself, have had enough of the government. It's self-explanatory – the government doesn't care about us, there are no jobs.
    I don't think people are protesting in the right way. I saw people from 13 to 30 there. I saw everyday, normal people in the shops, helping themselves. Everyone has had enough of paying taxes so the rich get richer. It can't get worse for us, people in the ghetto. No one cares about us so what are we supposed to do? There has always been a big gap between youth and the police. We're trying to get their attention. People are crying out for help.

3.Kevin, 17, Isle of Dogs, east London
I was passing through Mare Street, [in Hackney, east London] and saw a lot of looting. There was a wide range of people there: young people, mothers, some people who were definitely at uni. I can't say why they were doing it but I think this whole Mark Duggan [shot by police in Tottenham, north London] thing is an excuse. People are using that as an open door to get free stuff.
People are angry with the police though, that is real. They have mistreated youth, I've experienced that myself. I was walking out of a jewellery shop the other day and I was searched. I'd say I've been searched at least six times this year, they've never found anything on me. I know my white friends don't get searched as much.
It does frustrate me but I think it's an efficient way of stopping crime.

  1. Pierre Neil, 28, south-east London, former So Solid Crew member and youth mentor The relationship between the police and the black community is obviously not good, so when anything happens with the police and the community feels they're not being co-operated with, it creates an explosion and that's what you've seen.

I think this [rioting] is criminal behaviour but the police have shown criminal behaviour against a lot of the young people, they stop and search us disproportionately. And young people feel they don't have a voice or they don't have the energy or the power to press charges because they feel they won't get anywhere.


The community: you can replace a kettle but what about the memories?


There is a smell of fresh paint in Niche Mufwankolo's pub on Tottenham High Road. New windows have been fitted and full bottles placed in the optics. But the floor has yet to be laid, and some of the windows remain boarded up. Despite working round the clock since the street attacks in this part of London, the scars of that night remain.

A little more than a week ago Mufwankolo had to lock himself in an upstairs office while looters tore through the Pride of Tottenham, just a stone's throw from White Hart Lane. They smashed glasses, stole alcohol and tills, and set fire to his furniture on the street. Mufwankolo finally climbed out of a window and escaped across the roof.

Everything he had worked for was destroyed. But now, like the rest of the community here, Mufwankolo is trying to rebuild things.

"We are broken, but we are coming back to life slowly," he said. "The community is trying to really be together, to support, and give it a go again. Those people who came to destroy Tottenham failed. Tottenham will never be destroyed."

But the area is still reeling from the riots that erupted here 11 days ago.

"It was like a bomb hit Tottenham," said Mufwankolo. "I didn't expect to make my money back for years, but now I have to start from ground zero."
At the Tottenham Green Leisure Centre, transformed into an emergency bunker where up to 200 people made homeless receive food, clothing, housing advice and counselling, Cameron met about a dozen staff and volunteers.

Helen Constantine, the centre manager, said: "I think it was important that he came and saw what the local authority and, more importantly, local people are doing to help others in dire need."

Not everyone was happy about the visit, though. "When David Cameron goes to the US he is statesman but when he comes to Tottenham he is a ghost," said Symeon Brown, co-founder of the youth group Hype (Haringey Young People Empowered). "Many people have a lot to say in Tottenham in regards to his approach. Visiting in the early hours when many are asleep is the opposite of listening and learning."

But for many here, a visit from the prime minister is the least of their concerns. Standing next to the community assistance centre's help desks and trestle tables packed with donated goods from residents and shops, Constantine said many people were struggling to cope with what they had been through now that the adrenaline surge had worn off. "The trauma is starting to hit them. You can replace a kettle but what about the memories? One woman told me she had lost the first letter her husband gave to her, the wedding gift from her mother – you can't replace that."
Victoria Norman, a graphic designer, watched as the Carpetright store behind her house lit up in flames, showering her home in debris and filling it with smoke. She took her 19-month-old daughter to safety. "We are not sleeping, we are having nightmares, everyone is scared of hearing police helicopters," she said. "We are a week on and I keep sweeping but I can't get rid of the burnt black tar."

But, like most people interviewed in this area she was determined to stay. "I love my home, my neighbours – and the new neighbours I met because of this. There is strength in numbers, we are stronger than we were before. We all care about where we live and are sick and tired of people putting Tottenham down."

The owner of a computer repair shop said he had not had internet for over a week, with BT saying reconnection might not come until the end of August. "Business is dead," said Lombego, owner of the 10p Street Digital Center. "We keep waiting for it to improve, what option have we got? People used to think twice before they invested here, now they will hesitate even more." Asked how he thought the community was coping with the violence they had seen he said: "Are they coping? Everyone is victimised, demonised – how are they supposed to cope?"

Sergeant Jim MacPherson, overseeing young volunteers painting the plywood boards that dot the road, did not take that view. "It has been strange. But we have had a lot of support and very little negativity," he said. The police had to work harder than ever now to make contact with all members of the community, he added. "We need to take a long, hard, look at where we go next. We can't look everyone up forever and we need to give people the aspiration to improve their lives."
With the painting over, the young people unsheathed marker pens and wrote their own messages. One note, surrounded with hearts, read: "Love your community like it's a part of you." Another said: "Look for the unity in the community."

Michelle Cart, 18, explained why she had offered to help. "Everyone is trying to do their bit. Of course it hurts and it will be remembered for decades, but community does exist. It's a shame it took riots to bring people together but it has helped community spirit."

It is a message often reiterated. Residents speak of meeting their neighbours for the first time, traders discuss a sense of solidarity with other businesses. At the assistance centre staff are now asking for cash after receiving many donated goods. "People want to help each other, they want to do something," said Constantine. "People are working to bring back that community spirit and we can't afford to lose that."
Footballers who ply their trade locally are doing their bit. On Tuesday the Spurs striker Peter Crouch visited 89-year-old fan Aaron Biber, whose barbers, a fixture in Tottenham for 41 years, had been trashed in the riots. Biber, taking celebrity in his stride (and giving Crouch a haircut) explained that he had been overwhelmed with messages of support and had had dozens of letters and cheques from people wanting to help. "There are a lot of good people in the world," he said. "I didn't used to believe that, but I do now."

In Tottenham, a father who fled his burning flat with his two children after it was attacked by rioters has called for proportionate sentencing and said prison for small-time looters "will not solve anything". Community worker Mohamed Hammoudan, 46, lost all his belongings in the fire that destroyed the Allied Carpets building in Tottenham, north London, on the first night of rioting on 7 August. "We can't just use this, [prison sentences] as a blanket way of resolving social problems," he said.