London riots: 10 years from MP's 'darkest, bleakest days'

6 August 2021, 11:50

Buildings were set alight during the five nights of riots.
Buildings were set alight during the five nights of riots. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

It has been 10 years since the London riots, where five nights of unrest saw the capital set ablaze by protestors.

It came after the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, who had been shot by police in Tottenham.

Two days later, on August 6, protests soon turned into riots across the country.

Around 15,000 people were involved in the chaos, which saw buildings and vehicles set alight as well as looting.

At the time, five people died and the damage left the country with an estimated bill of around half a billion pounds.

An interim report from an independent review panel in November 2011 said there were more than 5,000 crimes committed, 1,860 incidents of arson and criminal damage, 1,649 burglaries, 141 incidents of disorder and 366 incidents of violence against the person.

Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy told LBC on Friday that they were the "darkest, toughest and bleakest days" of the 21 years he had been in public life.

Read more: Risk of London riots happening again 'higher than ever', Labour warns

Labour spoke out ahead of the 10-year anniversary, saying on Thursday that there was a very high risk that riots could occur again.

Upon the release of a report looking at progress since the riots, Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed said: "Instead of acting to strengthen the fabric of society to reduce the risk of riots, over the past decade the Conservatives have decimated police forces, youth services and council funding for the support families most at risk need."

He added: "The government chose to ignore the lessons of the riots, so the risks we face today seem higher than ever."

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.

"We've allocated £12 billion to councils since the start of the pandemic, with over £6 billion not ringfenced in recognition that councils are best placed to decide on local needs."

During his weekend show, David Lammy said: "I will never forget walking up Tottenham High Road on the Sunday morning after the night before, seeing bricks all over the street. Seeing burnt out cars. Seeing burnt out shop fronts and looted shop fronts.

"Looking at shopkeepers dazed as they ploughed through the carnage in their shops.

"Looking at parents standing in their pyjamas burnt out of their homes, holding just their children in their arms."

He added: "It is important to say that the vast majority of people were terrified in their homes.

"The peaceful majority of local residents could only watch as their shops, their homes, the businesses that they relied on, were senselessly burned that night."