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Tonight on Panorama, the week that shocked the country. They smashed
Argos, Tesco and Peacocks and they wanted to come this way. An orgy of
looting and the moment an 11-year- old girl turns to crime. I believe
we were watching a complete breakdown in law-and-order in our
country. We reveal just how the police lost control of our streets
to the mob. We were abandoned by the emergency services. We were
under siege. They were out to murder us. We ask what is behind
the violence? There are pockets of our society that are not just
broken, but frankly sick. All the anger they felt, the angst, the
passion, it erupted. How did the Tottenham, North London, 11 days
ago. There's trouble. Someone's been injured. Paramedics race to
help. But to no avail. Armed police from Operation Trident shoot dead a
young black man, Mark Duggan. The fuse for the worst riot in a
generation is ignited. This is where armed police caught up with
him. Exactly what happened next is not at all clear, but we do know
that a gun, not police issue, was later recovered from the scene.
After Mark Duggan's death, the police watchdog spoke about an
exchange of shots implying that Duggan had opened fire. Later, they
admitted that was wrong. If what happened round here was legal and
lawful, why didn't they tell the community, tell the family exactly
what had happened? Why do we have to have all of this mystery? Why is
everything shrouded in mystery? Mark Duggan was raised on the
Broadwater Farm Estate. There was a sense of numbness and disbelief in
the Broadwater Farm Estate this morning. In 1985, PC Keith
Blakelock was hacked to death here. The riot triggered by the death of
a black woman during a police raid. Now history repeats itself. Just
two days after the shooting, Duggan's friends set out from
Broadwater Farm. They are going to the local police station to demand
answers. It wasn't a march. We didn't chant. We didn't sing. We
strolled to Tottenham police station. You had placards? A few
hastily-written banners. What did they say? Justice for Mark Duggan,
that's what it said. After waiting for answers, patience runs out. The
mood begins to turn sour. I think that the young men who were there
felt really frustrated because it now appeared we had just spent four
hours and we weren't further down the line. The young people lost it.
They lost it. All the anger that they felt, the angst, the passion
that they felt, it erupted. Stafford Scott does not condone the
violence that followed, but the anger here is real. They reject the
idea that they are responsible for a broken, sick society. We don't
care what Cameron says. When people are doing the same thing in the
Middle East, they talk about the Arab spring, the heroes and the
rebels and they go there and they arm them. When they do it here,
they say they are mindless thugs. We can see the hypocrisy even if
the rest of the world can't. This is a democracy? I beg your pardon?
Is it a democracy where police can kill your kids on the streets and
they don't come to your home to account for it? We call it madness!
The march has led to this, officers pull back leaving the rioters to
laud it over the streets. Even the As Saturday nightfalls, chaos --
Saturday night falls, chaos. The riot heads north towards a local
landmark. Above the Carpet Right store, 26 flats. Omar, his partner
Barbara and son Oscar lived on the second-floor. Barbara woke me up at
1.00am and said there was a commotion outside. I didn't have
any idea of the seriousness of it and so I got up and looked out of
the window. At that time, I ask Omar, we have to phone the police.
They didn't listen to us. I phoned the police. You spoke with them.
They said to just try be safe. That's it. Barbara opens the window
to plead with the rioters. I shout to them, "Look, can you please stop,
children are living here" and they ignore me. She tries again. They
saw you? Absolutely. What did you say? Don't do this. One of the
rioters looked back up with Barbara and gave her his middle finger,
laughing, basically. London is burning. The people who live here
have to run or burn. We heard banging on our door. I opened the
door, it was a youth who didn't live in the building saying, "The
building has been set on fire, get out." I thought... Get out, get out,
they were saying. No-one comes to the rescue. We were abandoned by
the emergency services. We were under siege and they were out to
I condemn categorically anything that harms other human beings. I
condemn something that drives people from their homes with
burning buildings with children in their arms. I grew up in this
constituency. I grew up poor. I grew up without a father. I also
grew up with pride and understanding the difference
between right and wrong. This is wrong. Monday and the rioting
spreads like wildfire to 21 Welcome to midsummer hell. Down the
road from Tottenham, Hackney. Again, the police see control of the
streets to the youth. The battle is on and the police struggle to
contain the violence. They have a riot in Tottenham. Hackney wants to
have one. Unfortunately, we have brought up this generation
believing that whatever someone else has got, they have to have it.
Nowhere to hide. Rioters running wild. London welcomes people from
all corners of the planet. But look what happens to Asyraf Haziq, a
student from Malaysia. His bike has been stolen, he's been beaten up,
his jaw broken. He is rescued by "good" samaritans, but this isn't
how the story goes in The Bible, helpless, he is robbed all over
again. The Labour Party wants a public inquiry. After the Brixton
riot 30 years ago, Lord Scarman's report puts some of the blame on
high unemployment. That is not how the Government sees it now. These
riots were not riots like the ones in the '80s. These were intensely
criminal activities. These were co- ordinated. The mayhem that was
created, the burning of the buildings and the violent attacks
on the police, in some senses was a cover for the criminal activity.
Word of where to loot spreads rapidly, fuelled by social network
sites. As the police retreat, the rioters come out in droves. In
Clapham Junction a reporter asked the rioters what do they think they
are doing? We are getting our taxes back. What do you mean by that?
taxes innit. A local resident questions police tactics. I was
quite shocked to see about no more than 600 yards from where all the
action was taking place, there were three riot vans full of police in
riot gear and about five or six police cars parked up on the left.
I asked one of them, "With the greatest of respect, it is all
chaos down there and you are here doing nothing." He said they had
been ordered to withdraw because the protection of life was more
important than the protection of property. There is a sense that the
police got caught hopping. They were caught on the hop. They didn't
get this judgment right. tactics are going to be reviewed.
That is right. We are accountable. Let's not forget the bravery of
individual officers on the ground who were doing a tremendous job.
There is a real feeling whatever we do, we will be damned if we do and
we are damned if we don't. great British summer madness starts.
This is just one of many shops ransacked in Hackney. We have
obtained the CCTV. Great bargains in this place, everything must go!
But what is driving the looters? Anger? Greed? This is about a
(BLEEP) who got shot in Tottenham. Get real, black people! Get real!
What are you up to? Is this fun? Is this fun? Everyone was going mad,
like, chucking things, chucking bottles. It was good, though.
seemed to be a lot of people who were piling in for the first time.
It was opportunistic. Almost a sort of herd instinct. Kids that had
never been involved in these activities suddenly thinking that
they can help themselves, they had forgot the boundaries between right
and wrong. Even in London's suburbs, young mobs go on the rampage. In
the space of a few hours, plumes of smoke darken London's summer sky.
This furniture store had stood here in Croydon since Queen Victoria's
day. When looters set fire to it, the owner could only watch. 999
said they couldn't help. I thought I've got to phone somebody, I can't
phone me dad, he will be totally distraught. I will phone my brother.
As I phoned Graham, I found myself going, "They are burning the shop,
Graham, they are burning the shop." And your heart just - you know it's
all gone. There is nothing you can do about it. Maurice Reeve is 80.
He wants schools, police and politicians to do something. When I
was a schoolboy, if we picked up a stone and threw it at a policeman,
we were put in jail, we were imprisoned. You were marched off.
Firemen are being attacked. The police are losing the battle. Close
to the burning furniture store, the flats start to burn. One woman
jumps for her life. This moment becomes the iconic image of London
in 2011. The chap started screaming, "There is a woman still in there."
As I was standing here, I could see two feet, two feet popping from the
window and then the riot police and the small crowd were screaming to
her, "Jump!" The leaping woman, Monica Konzyk, only moved to
England from Poland in March this year. Jumping saves her life. In
some parts of London, enough is enough. In Dalston, many small
businesses are owned by Turks and Kurds. They are not afraid to stand
up to hoodies here. They smashed Argos, Tesco and Peacocks and they
wanted to come this way. Barber Mehmet takes to the streets. Team
Kurd has sticks, metal bars and kebab knives. In Dalston, the
phrase "community policing" takes on a whole new meaning. You don't
class yourself as a vigilante? We always say to police, express to
them that we are here not trying to be like take the law in our hands,
but act with the law in a manner if we can, like, maybe chase them or
get them together. And show them not to come here. If you come here,
we are ready whatever it takes. Their tactics raised some troubling
questions. But there is not much London wakes up to its biggest
hangover for three decades. In Clapham Junction, another kind of
crowd is gathering. The mood here is different. APPLAUSE The police
don't get bricked. For days, users of Blackberry and Facebook people
said fanned the flames. Now the social networks bring this clean-up
army together. Enter a blonde in a hurry. Where did he get that brush?
They love him. They love him not. The youths are running around
stealing, yeah? Now they are looting all the stuff. There is
reason for everything, Boris. Think about the amount of times you are
cutting and cutting? You are putting up youth fees? I have so
many friends who want to go to university. I understand. The Prime
Minister, David Cameron, says it is not about budgets but morality. In
the past he's warned about parts of Britain being broken, now he paints
a darker picture. There's been a lack of focus on the complete lack
of respect shown by these groups of thugs. There are pockets of our
society that are not just broken, but frankly sick. Let's talk about
this sickness of 1.4 million children living below the poverty
line, or 1.1 million children living with substance-abusing
parents. Shall we talk about that sickness, too? Some unlikely people
object to the "Broken Britain" label, too. Is Britain a broken
country? No, it isn't. Britain is not like some washing machine that
is bust that is not functioning at all. What's happened with these
riots and this looting is that it has exposed real issues about how
kids are brought up, about boundaries, about discipline and
about respect. He wants to come with me and see what is going on.
Iain Duncan Smith's diagnosis? Parts of Britain are broken. Very
high levels of violence. Big issues about crime and policing. Very poor
educational results. Kids in two and three generational families
that are lone parents, and have no set of values that we would
recognise. It is changing that culture - and I would encourage to
Boris to look at those issues - that you can't whitewash over that.
What would Boris find? One in five young Britons are out of work and
for young black people, it is one in two. There's also a large
percentage of lone parents so are broken families also part of the
problem? I think families have been disempowered. You hear some of the
parents of these rioters talking about the situation and saying that
somehow the children are out of their control as though it is not
As London cools down, the violence flashes across the country. A rash
of copycat riots. This is Wolverhampton last Tuesday, during
working hours. The police station is on fire. In Nottingham petrol
bombs rained down on a police station. West Bromwich starts to
rock. Rioting becomes almost an everyday habit. In Manchester,
youths go in for a bit of extreme shopping. But they didn't have it
all their own way. The Manchester police send in snatch squads.
Goodbye softly softly. Even so, the riots strengthen those warning we
had become a nation of softies. police force that can't smack
people any more for fear of it appearing on YouTube, youth workers
employed by the thousand who achieve nothing at all. An
education system where the teachers are scared of the parents after
they have administered discipline to some revolting little scumbag of
a child. Take the whole lot together and you have a destruction
of law-and-order. What's become clear is that passions are getting
toxic. To stop the riots from happening again, first we need to
know why they took place but on this there is no agreement. For
those on the right, it is a question of the collapse of moral
values. For those on the left, it is the collapse in economic outlook
for Britain's poorest people. have a whole load of clapped-out
politicians who have come on and denounced this. The first time,
certainly in my lifetime, a generation is growing up uncertain
about their future. They are not certain they can get a home or a
job. The politicians don't engage with them. In Birmingham last
Tuesday, a fresh orgy of looting, for snacks, cheap hats, mobile
phones and electronic toys. In Winson Green Asian men protect the
neighbourhood from looters. Three men are knocked down by a car
driven at high speed. Are they all dead? All three die. Friction
between Birmingham's Asian and black communities reaches boiling
point. That night across the city, police chase down looters, but they
couldn't be everywhere. This could get very nasty indeed. They have
caught him. They've got him. Then Tariq Jahan, father of one of the
dead men, speaks for England. lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites,
we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another?
What started these riots? What's escalated them? I lost my son. Step
forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise calm down and go
People listen, the rioting stops Now police on the ground get to do
their job. Thousands of suspects are arrested. We are going to take
positive action and as much as they might enjoy rioting, we enjoy it
even more locking them up. Perhaps most shocking of all - children
also rioted. In Nottingham one girl is filmed trying to smash windows.
She's only 11 years old. I have been in the force 29 years. I did
the miners' dispute in '84. This beggars belief what went off last
night. It was hard work. Police now say they expect up to 3,000 people
will end up being charged. All this as put an enormous strain on the
police when budgets across-the- board are being squeezed. The
Labour Party and others say it is now wrong to go ahead with a �2
billion cut to the police budget. We are surprised that they are
still talking about cutting police numbers by 16,000 and if you think,
that equates to the number of officers that have been keeping
London safe over the last few days. That is worrying. The people who
caused so much mayhem have been traipsing through this court and
others across England. The cost? Six people dead. �200 million up in
smoke. There is no getting away from it, this was a catastrophe.
How can we prevent it from ever happening again? Lieu ham, South
London, last Monday -- Lewisham, South London, last Monday night.
Behind them, they say there is a culture of ruthless gangs.
gangs that are run by these characters have become the
alternative employment strategy for them. They consider the gang
leaders to be heroes. The young people who live here feel distant
from those in authority, trying to come up with solutions. When you
got politicians slandering, talking about these areas are sick areas
and there's people out there - people who do not know any better.
We have to live here. We have to pick up the pieces. Whatever
decisions they make, we will feel the effect of it. For the
Government taking on gang culture is now a national priority, but
then so is cutting the country's debt. Ministers say they are up for
taking on the gangs, but will they provide the cash? That won't cost
any extra money? I am simply saying what we need to do is figure out
what it costs to do this. If we don't focus our money and our
priority on eradicating this problem of street gangs, dealing
with dysfunctional families and restoring some social sensibility
back to parts of our communities, all the rest of what we try and do
becomes almost impossible because they will drag us back down to
where we were a week ago. Back in Tottenham, for some life will never
be the same again. Whereabouts roughly? The whole of this block.
Omar and Barbara's lives have been overturned in seven days. This is
The worst civil unrest for decades has led to tens of millions of pounds of damage, dozens of injured policemen and wide-scale looting as gangs of youths have rampaged through London and other major cities. Panorama tells the full story of the August riots and asks what has led a generation to violence.