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By Joseph Willits 
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Social networking, flashbacks to the G20 riots, the role of CCTV, restorative justice, and the power of the police in their approach, seemed to be some of the themes covered.

Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford) highlighted the role social networking had played in the disruption, but also how it countered and assisted, she said “social networks such as Twitter have also provided the police … with an opportunity to dispel rumours and myths about where future disturbances happen.”  She asked the Home Secretary to “congratulate forces that have used social networking to their advantage and concentrate on the closed networking opportunities” such as Blackberry.

Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central) whose constituency was devastated in parts by the rioting welcomed, alongside other factors, David Cameron’s talk of “fresh powers” in regard to social networking.  He also welcomed aforesaid “fresh powers” on “curfews … and on powers for the police in relation to people who cover their faces”.  He heaped praise on the people of his constituency who played their part in their attempts to undo the damage caused. “People want criminals brought to justice” he said, and talked of “the crucial role” that CCTV played “in identifying who was responsible” he added, “I hope that members on the Treasury Bench will take note of that”.  Barwell also reiterated the sentiments of many people.  “People want those responsible to be properly punished and to make reparation to those they have damaged.  They want those who have committed these crimes to have access to taxpayers’ money in the form of benefits. They want those who are council tenants evicted, so that decent people on the waiting list get a home instead. They want those who are not British citizens removed from this country.”

Lee Scott (Ilford North) whose constituency was also affected by the riots, urged more powers to be given to the police that it is important we take off their “handcuffs” and that they “should be allowed to do what they think they need to.  The use of water cannons, and rubber bullets should be at their discretions, he said.

Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) stressed that it was important for “political leaders to articulate their support” and that “we must not fall into the trap that her Government did when Ministers in the Ministry of Defence failed to give backing to troops doing very difficult jobs in very difficult circumstances.”

Angie Bray (Ealing Central & Action), member of another affected constituency, encouraged the debate on “what policing wants.”  She welcomed such a debate between the public, their elected representatives and the police.  She stressed the need for “consent” particularly in they need to “provide a slightly more robust response” during events we have just witnessed.

Margot James (Stourbridge) asked about the stand-and-observe order given to police under certain circumstances.  She asked the Home Secretary, “given that they have been criticised for how they dealt with the G20 riots, on which there is a case pending in the European Court of Human Rights  … whatever police powers we end up agreeing with … we must provide consistent support when things go wrong.”

Robert Buckland (South Swindon) highlighted that many involved in the rioting and looting have been young children.  He encouraged the need for “restorative justice … making them face up to the victims of their crimes and making them play their part in restoring the damage that they have done”.  He suggested this as a a “good way to divert those young children from further involvement in the gang culture and crimes that we have seen.”

7 comments for: A selection of comments and questions asked by Conservative MPs in the Commons debate on the riots

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