Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Public Disorder — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:57 pm on 11th August 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Laming Lord Laming Crossbench 12:57 pm, 11th August 2011

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord the Leader of the House for repeating this Statement on a matter that must concern us all very deeply, as indeed it concerns the vast majority of our fellow citizens.

The awful events of this week in many respects diminish us all. At this time our hearts must go out especially to those fellow citizens who have lost so much because their homes have been burnt out or their businesses destroyed, or they have been injured or, terribly sadly and even worse, killed. Rioting is a grievous activity that strikes at the very heart of the well-being of society, but I am sure we all agree that that is entirely different from looting, theft and wanton destruction. I ask the noble Baroness the Minister to say, when she replies, whether she agrees that this is not the time, in the heat of these events, to rush to any conclusions. Rather, the priority must be to restore social order for all our citizens to enjoy, and then to frame the important questions that need to be properly addressed in due course.

Secondly, while no criticism of the police is implied, does the Minister agree that a detailed review must include a review of how the police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission initially responded to the death of Mr Duggan? Did the police appoint a family liaison officer? Did a senior officer of the IPCC immediately explain in detail to the family exactly how the inquiry would be conducted and the rights of the family secured? I raise these questions simply because, like many others, I wonder why the family felt it necessary to march to secure such basic information.

Thirdly, does the Minister also agree that low income is not of itself a primary cause of criminal behaviour? Indeed, does she share the admiration of most of us for the way in which most families on low incomes not only manage their lives with great skill but very often form the bedrock of the local community? That being so, does she think that this may be an appropriate time to examine whether the much valued individual human rights that we all enjoy and share are nevertheless properly balanced by a commitment to wider social responsibilities? Does she agree that while we must continue to strive to ensure that society works for the benefit of every citizen, the other side of the coin is that every citizen must seek to contribute to the good of society?