Anniversary of London riots 'a reminder that causes have not been addressed'

Catherine West, Peray Ahmet and Tulip Siddiq

Catherine West, Peray Ahmet and Tulip Siddiq have all said not enough has been done to fix the underlying causes of the 2011 London riots - Credit: Archant/UK Parliament/Haringey Council

A decade on from the London riots of 2011, figures including MPs Tulip Siddiq and Catherine West, and Haringey Council leader Cllr Peray Ahmet have called for the government to recognise the structural causes that remain.

The riots began after Haringey man Mark Duggan was shot by police on August 4, 2011 and saw trouble across London, including in Camden Town, between August 6 and August 11 that year.

Ten years on, Cllr Ahmet has written to the government asking for investment in communities like Tottenham, where Mr Duggan was from. 

She said: "Without additional government support there is a risk that Tottenham will go backwards economically and the wider progress that has been made is lost."

Fire destroying a Tottenham building in August 2011

The risk of a repeat of riots that scarred London and other major towns and cities a decade ago is "higher than ever", Labour MPs said. The image shows fire destroying a Tottenham building - Credit: PA

The council leader added: "Despite all the fear, anxiety and loss of that tumultuous week, what shone through then and still does today is the community strength and resolve of local people not to be defined by the riots and a determination to rebuild for the future.

“Since 2011 substantial work has been done by the council, its partners and the community to build on Tottenham’s strengths and address several social and economic issues."

She spoke of how despite the progress made, issues of trust remained. Pointing to "disproportionate policing of the Black community", she said: “Relationships between the community and the police are stronger but trust levels are not where we would want them to be."

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Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq echoed this, saying: "The tenth anniversary of the London riots is a reminder that we still have not addressed some of the causes of the appalling chaos that unfolded on our streets.

"The impact of poverty, inequality and social alienation is still widely felt, and many of the recommendations of a report into the riots around community-police relations, family support and youth unemployment have still not been implemented by the government."

She said the riots themselves had "no justification", but said we could not be complacent about what had caused them.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West said: "Those who directly caused the damage and destruction should be held responsible for their actions, but the government has left us all vulnerable to further community unrest by failing to learn the lessons of 2011.”

Addressing the issue, a government spokesperson said: “The events of August 2011 shocked the country, and the police and courts took commendably swift action to bring perpetrators to justice.

“We’re strengthening communities by levelling up opportunities and ensuring local people are at the heart of decision making – identifying what matters to them and the best ways to achieve this."

In 2011, Courtney Carr - then 13 - wrote a column for this newspaper discussing how the Tottenham community experienced that traumatic week. 

She wrote: "I’m upset because this has happened but I also think that the police are partly to blame. The way they handled the situation was not good and whether they are guilty of the murder of Mark, I don’t know.

"But the protesters should not have made the situation worse by erupting with outbursts of violence. They won’t take you seriously if you behave like this."

In a statement released addressing the anniversary of the disorder, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our city has been through a lot since the disorder of summer 2011, and there is no escaping the reality that some of the complex and entrenched causes of the riots – inequality, poverty, lack of opportunity and the need for better relations between our police and London’s diverse communities – remain.

“It’s crucial we tackle these challenges head on by advocating for increased funding and support to help regenerate the most deprived parts of our city.”