5 days in August: an interim report on the 2011 English riots

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Riots Communities and Victims Panel
Riots Communities and Victims Panel
Date of publication
28 November 2011
Young Offenders
Social welfare
Material type

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This independent panel looked at the causes of the August 2011 English riots as well as how communities responded and ways to avoid a recurrence. Its 111-page report 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 found that the initial riots had been triggered by the police's handling of the death of Mark Duggan, and in particular communication with his family, which was caused by the “breakdown of their protocols” with the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It said rumours surrounding the shooting had not been countered effectively, and that “there is a fault line running between the IPCC and the police in this area”, which it urged both parties to address. The panel then said that if the police had responded more robustly to the riots which erupted firstly in Tottenham, and then across London, they would not have have happened elsewhere. The report finds no single motivating factor for the violence, but that deprivation played a part, and that people took advantage of the police's lack of control.The Panel breaks down those present at the riots into five broad categories: 1) organised criminals, often from outside the area; 2) violent aggressors who committed the most serious crimes, such as arson and violent attacks on the police; 3) “late night shoppers” – people who deliberately travelled to riot sites in order to loot; 4) opportunists – people who were drawn into riot areas through curiosity or a sense of excitement and then became caught up in the moment; and 5) spectators – people who came just to watch the rioting.