Reaction to Riots
The National Association of Retired Police Officers offers our support to our serving colleagues during these difficult times. We know, as they do, the difficulties of dealing with rampant youths who are out of control on the streets of Britain. Holding the line against wanton criminality is what the police have been doing. Despite the fact that they, and everyone else, were initially surprised by the level and the extent of this criminality, the police have reacted magnificently to the challenge. The restoration of calm and the number of those arrested is clear testimony to the effectiveness of policing.
NARPO considers that it is disappointing that certain sections of the press, some politicians and some sections of the community are now seeking to blame the service for apparently failing to control the situation sooner. This appears to be a clear attempt to divert criticism from their own actions or an apparent failure to be prepared to look to the real causes of the problems.
Police resources are limited and are about to become even more limited in the immediate future. Currently, Chief Police Officers options in terms of tactical deployment are being more and more restricted by budgetary control. NARPO believe that if there is one lesson to be learnt in respect of policing these riots it is that strong or ‘robust’ policing is only possible in situations like these if there are sufficient police officers to police that way.
Eric Evans the President of NARPO said, ‘Initially the police were clearly surprised by the level of violence and criminality involved in these riots but the limited number of officers available dealt magnificently with the situation with no thought for personal safety. Police numbers in London were initially doubled but when this proved insufficient that new number was trebled. There are significant numbers of officers now on follow up enquiries and making significant arrests. Effective policing is only possible with effective police numbers as this situation clearly shows. Anyone who believes that reducing police budgets by 20% will not affect front line policing is clearly mistaken and NARPO believe public safety will suffer if these cuts go ahead.’