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Public Disorder — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:45 pm on 11th August 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Conservative 1:45 pm, 11th August 2011

My Lords, I welcome the Statement of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. I also wish to reflect for a moment that Croydon North is an area I know well. As the riots took place, I was on the phone to a lady who saw her business burnt down in front of her eyes as she watched from a flat opposite. She saw her tenant, an elderly lady, being taken out as the gangs took hold. She saw the police standing back, just along the road. I call upon my noble friend the Minister to ask for a review of police tactics, as the noble Lord, Lord Dear, suggested, because that is important in restoring the kind of confidence we need on our streets and in our police force.

Secondly, I should ask about sustainability. It is undoubtedly true that confidence was being restored when we saw police in numbers on the streets to protect law-abiding citizens of our country. How sustainable are these numbers in the long term, because that is the kind of real reassurance that residents and citizens of our country need?

Thirdly, I join other noble Lords in paying tribute to the likes of Tariq Jahan, who lost his son. He did two things. Not only did Mr Jahan show courage in what can only be described as exceptional circumstances that none would wish to experience, he also addressed the issue of community relations. Hequelled what could have been an extremely difficult situation between two rival communities. I therefore call upon the Minister also to highlight what steps will be taken there to ensure that extremist groups do not take advantage of the circumstances we all find ourselves in on the streets of our country.