Tuesday, August 09, 2011
"The thugs behind this need to be dealt with by the police.
"Hackney has seen such progress in the last decade. We must condemn the violence. Hackney is a commnunity of diversity and tolerance and we need to make sure that these are the characteristics Hackney is known by, not the actions of some mindless, violent thugs.
"If people have grievances we must use the democratic process to resolve them."
"I have spoken to the Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Bending who I will be meeting urgently. I will also be meeting community leaders and business representatives later today to discuss the clean up and how we rebuild the community"
If you have any thoughts and suggestions about where we go from here after such awful events please let me know
Last Thursday in Tottenham, Mark Duggan, a father of four, lost his life during a police operation. Mr Duggan’s family subsequently organised a peaceful protest on Saturday only for it to be hijacked by a few thugs leading to widespread violence in the Tottenham constituency. I added my voice and support to David Lammy MP in Tottenham who condemned the opportunistic violence.
As the violence extended across London into Sunday and Monday, we moved well beyond any relationship between this violence and the death of Mark Duggan as a minority of opportunistic people used the unrest as an excuse to riot in their own communities, wreaking havoc on the streets of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.We have all been deeply shocked and angered by these events.
I have also been moved by the stories of heroism that are emerging and the work, foresight and sense of community of those taking part in local clean-up operations. But what action should we take to deal with the immediacy of the crisis and to consider preventing a repetition?
I have had discussions with police and community leaders in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. I have raised a number of concerns, witnessed Metropolitan Police senior staff willing to accept outside help, and was inspired by the commitment from all parties to moving forward together. Some had seen it all before and thought they would never witness it again; others were shocked to see for the first time scenes more redolent of an urban war zone.
It is easy to assume we have quick fixes. There has been much criminal activity and the police will, quite rightly, investigate that thoroughly.
But there are broader and more complex issues here. My position is this:
Enforce the law -- people I have spoken to do not want any 'no-go' areas for the police in London; criminal behaviour must be dealt with using the full force of the law.
Let the Independent Police Complaints Commission do it's job -- we argued for this body to exist as an alternative to the police service investigating itself. They need time to assemble the facts surrounding the death of Mark Duggan and to make recommendations.
Adopt economic policies that support local people -- the recession has left some people facing real hardship and there are concerns about social dislocation. We need policies that will enable investment and growth, rather than a focus on what will be the next area to be cut.
And we the community must continue with our message that we will not stand for this. We will work to bring the perpetrators to justice – they do not speak for us. We live in wonderful communities with strong senses of solidarity- we will not allow this to drag us down.
Jennette Arnold OBE AM
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said: "I am appalled by the events of last night. These were people bent on violence who attacked not just property and local businesses but put residents in fear of their lives. The Council has cleared away all the debris from last night and Hackney is going about its business, but if we are to avoid a repeat of last night, I am urging families across London to make sure they know where their children are and to support the police in identifying perpetrators.
“The Council's cleaners were on the streets throughout the night and had cleared away all the debris, apart from a few burnt out cars, by 7.30am and I would like to pay tribute to them for their hard work. I would also like to thank the several hundred residents and volunteers who turned up at Hackney Town Hall this morning offering to help clean up the borough. This shows overwhelming generosity and community spirit and many were keen to go and help in other parts of London when it was clear the clean up in Hackney was already complete.”