Skip to comments.The London Riots of 2011, A Prepper's Perspective
Posted on 04/06/2013 9:50:23 AM PDT by Old Sarge
Here is one of my series of AAR's, specifically dealing with the event of the 2011 riots that spread across Great Britain. I have assembled this material from several sources, with observations and lessons learned following.
On August 4th, 2011, police made a "search-and-stop" arrest of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man. The arresting officers were part of "Operation Trident", a London Metropolitan Police unit responsible for gun crime within the black community. Police spokesmen stated that a loaded blank-firing pistol, converted to fire live rounds, was recovered from the scene. The gun was wrapped in a sock, a practice allegedly used to avoid leaving evidence if it was fired. In the course of the ensuing incident, the police fired twice, killing Duggan with a single gunshot to the chest. Paramedics pronounced Duggan dead at the scene.
On August 6th, 2011, Duggan's relatives and local residents marched from Broadwater Farm to Tottenham Police Station. The demonstrators wanted information from police about the circumstances of Duggan's death. A chief inspector spoke with the demonstrators, who demanded to see a higher-ranking officer. A younger and more aggressive crowd arrived at the scene around dusk, some of whom were carrying weapons. Police responded strongly to a 16-year-old girl who threw a missile at them. This was the flash point which led to the riot.
The unrest which started in Tottenham, a suburb of north London, quickly spread to neighboring areas by August 7th. Several small groups of hooded youngsters began arriving in cars, buses and trains. Local residents described "hundreds" of men and women entering appliance stores and emerging with TV's and other electrical goods. Upon police arriving, the looters attacked, throwing rocks and the contents of dumpsters at officers. Police initially met the rioters aggressivley, but as the sheer volume of riots began to increase, the police were quickly overwhelmed, and in several instances simply failed to respond to the riots at all.
The morning of August 8th was quiet, but by evening areas across London were affected by widespread looting, arson and violence, with significant outbreaks in major suburbs outside the city center. Similar riots were reported outside London notably in Birmingham, Bristol, Gloucester, Gillingham and Nottingham. In London, parts of the Underground were closed off, and all 32 boroughs were on riot alert. Shops all over the city were looted, then burned. Time Magazine wrote, "Not since the Blitz during World War II have so many fires raged in London so intensely at one time".
Londoners, horrified at the scale of the rioting and looting, began to take matters into their own hands. In the suburb of Ealing, rioters attempting to vandalise two pubs in this area were "discouraged" by the customers and staff. Asian, Turkish and Kurdish-owned shops formed protection units to defend their businesses against looters. Groups of citizens and shop owners formed in Enfield, Eltham and Southall, in an attempt to prevent looting. A senior police officer said that these vigilante groups were hampering police operations. Police clashed with a bottle-throwing crowd of about 200 vigilantes in Eltham, containing members of the English Defence League. Jack England, the EDL's south-east regional organiser, claimed to be combining 50 EDL members with local vigilantes to control the streets.
Rioting and looting quieted down somewhat during daylight on August 9th, and the evening saw a largely quiet night. Many shops and businesses closed early across the capital after reports of another night of widespread violence in London. The police response was now far more aggressive; streets were flooded with 16,000 police officers, with Special Constables being requested to report for duty to assist their regular colleagues. A "Zero tolerance" approach was adopted, and any attempt at disorder was quickly halted.
By August 10th, the London riots had spawned unrest in cities across Britain. Liverpool, Gloucester, and Nottingham all reported unrest by large mobs, resulting in numerous arrests and arson. Numerous smaller towns had their police and first responders on standby alert, though many areas escaped the unrest. The weather played a factor at this point; persistent heavy rain in parts of England had an effect on numbers of rioters or wandering groups on the streets.
By August 11th, the disturbances had finally begun to peter out across the nation. Only sporadic reports of vandalism occurred. The nation began to take stock of the result of the chaos. There were a total 3,443 crimes across London linked to the disorder. Emergency calls saw a 400% increase, from 5,400 normally to 20,800. At least 100 homes were destroyed in the arson and looting. The riots caused the irretrievable loss of heritage architecture. The Association of British Insurers said they expect the industry to pay out in excess of £200 million ($400 million USD). Official government sources estimate the cost will most likely exceed £500 million ($1 billion USD).
The following timeline illustrates how rapidly the violence progressed and escalated across London, then across Britain as a whole.
5:30 PM - About 120 people gather outside Tottenham police station after protest march.
8:20 PM - Violence begins. Bottles are thrown and two police cars are set alight.
10:15 PM - Tottenham post office is burned.
10:45 PM - Riots spread with attacks on police cars, public transport, and retail shops.
11:45 PM - Police begin to gain control of a section of Tottenham High Road, allowing the fire brigade to begin tackling fires.
1:30 AM - BBC and Sky News crews are attacked south of Tottenham High Road and both organizations pull out staff in response.
4:30 AM - Riots spread to Wood Green, looting of retail shops in Tottenham continues. The London Fire Brigade has dealt with 49 primary fires in the Tottenham area and received more than 250 emergency calls.
12:00 PM - Twelve districts in Greater London affected by riots. Police announce that 26 officers have been injured and 55 arrests made so far.
11:30 PM - Rioting and violent clashes with police break out in Enfield. In Brixton, around 200 people, many masked, pelt police officers with stones and bottles. Two separate cordons are established and businesses are advised to close. In Streatham, shops are looted and the owner of one shop is hospitalized.
12:45 AM - The mainly Turkish and Kurdish owned shops in Wood Green and Turnpike Lane form protection units to defend their businesses against looters.
2:00 AM - Scotland Yard releases statement saying that small and mobile groups of looters are targeting areas across London.
12:00 PM - Rioting and looting now spreads to 44 districts across Greater London.
8:00 PM - First signs of trouble outside London: reports in Birmingham as windows are smashed, and around 200 people confront police in the city center.
9:00 PM - Rioters clash with police in London suburbs of Croydon and Clapham Junction. Businesses and vehicles are attacked and set on fire. Police withdraw after coming under attack; more looters arrive.
9:15 PM - First Riot-related Death: Trevor Ellis, 26, is found with bullet wounds in a car in South Croydon and later dies in hospital. Two others arrested at the scene.
10:30 PM - Widespread rioting and looting reported in London suburbs of Hackney and Croydon. People are seen queuing in stores to acquire stolen goods; one serious assault reported.
10:45 PM - Second Riot-related Death: Richard Bowes, 68, is critically injured after confronting looters and trying to put out a dumpster fire. Police and emergency services are obstructed by rioters trying to reach him. He is taken to hospital and dies from his injuries a few days later.
2:30 AM - Arson continues in several districts. Car fires reported and there is widespread looting in Ealing, including a warehouse grocery and shopping mall. A bus is stolen by rioters and crashed.
2:45 AM - A police officer is run over by rioters in Wembley three men are later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
4:00 AM - A Facebook group, Post-Riot clean-up: Lets help clean up London is set up. By lunchtime, hundreds of people are working to clean the streets. Similar clean-ups taking place in other riot affected areas, including London suburbs, and cities of Birmingham and Bristol.
2:00 PM - Many shops and businesses closing early in riot-affected areas, heavy police presence from early afternoon. In London, Asian and Turkish owned shops largely stay open, guarded by employees and their family and friends.
10:25 PM - Around 200 people, including members of the English Defence League (EDL) gather in Eltham, southeast London, with the aim of protecting their community.
11:30 PM - Riots reported in Gloucestershire, Nottingham, and Liverpool.
12:00 AM - Riot-related Deaths: In Birmingham, three men were killed in a hit-and-run incident while attempting to protect their neighborhood from rioters and looters.
10:45 PM - Police make several arrests of alleged EDL supporters, after dispersing a crowd of men gathered earlier in Eltham.
11:15 AM - Sports venues begin cancelling activities due to riots.
8:00 PM - Increased police presence on the streets from the afternoon on. No repeat of the large scale disturbances of previous days. Persistent heavy rain in some parts of England.
1:00 AM - Candlelight vigil held for three men killed in Birmingham. Magistrates courts in London and Manchester sit throughout the night to process those charged for disorder-related offences. Only isolated reports of rioting by this time; the crisis is considered to have passed.
Total casualties for riots: 5 civilians dead, 16 civilians reported injured; 186 policemen, including 5 police dogs, and 10 firefighters were injured.
The trigger event of the 2011 riots - the shooting of Mark Duggan - is still mired in controversy after the event. The official government report of the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel goes to phenomenal lengths to state that the 2011 riots were not racially motivated, nor were the looting and arson that followed perpetrated exclusively by the black underclass.
Mark Duggan would be best described, in America parlance, as a "gang-banger". Unnamed police sources claimed via The "Daily Telegraph" that Duggan was a "well known gangster" and a "major player and well known to the police in Tottenham". Operation Trident had Duggan under surveillance; police state that they suspected Duggan was planning to commit a crime connected with the death of his cousin, fellow gang member Kelvin Easton. The Telegraph claimed that Duggan was bound to avenge the death by the "street code" of the gang. That he was stopped by police with an illegal weapon in his possession, would support the claim.
The statistics put forth by the Panel Report provide a cross-section of the rioters. The report estimates that between 13,000 - 15,000 people were actively involved in the riots. More than 4000 suspected rioters have been arrested, and nine out of ten were already known to the police. The overwhelming majority of those brought before the courts have been male and had prior convictions. At least 84 people had committed 50 or more previous offences each. Three-quarters were aged 24 or younger. Of those arraigned, 46% were Black, 42% White, and 7% Asian. In some areas, up to 61% were unemployed. Nationally, 40% of adult rioters were on government benefits.
The report breaks down the rioters into catergories:
Organised Criminals, often from outside the area.
Violent Aggressors, who committed the most serious crimes, such as arson and violent attacks on the police.
Late night shoppers people who deliberately traveled to riot sites in order to loot.
Opportunists people who were drawn into riot areas through curiosity or a sense of excitement and then became caught up in the moment.
Spectators people who came just to watch the rioting.
One recurring theme throughout reports and articles is the impact of social media on the spread and damage from the looting. The BlackBerry Messenger service was used by looters to organize their activities, and that inflammatory and inaccurate accounts of Mark Duggan's killing on social media sites may have incited disturbances. One of the many messages shared between users was the following:
"Everyone in edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!!!! Start leaving ur yards n linking up with your [n****s. F**k] da feds, bring your ballys and your bags trollys, cars vans, hammers the lot!!"
Blackberry Messenger, commonly referred to as BBM, acted as a preferred method of communication during the riots. Rioters had the ability to instantly contact specific individuals or broadcast a message to an entire contact list, spreading information about where the riots were currently taking place, safe routes along roadways to travel, and police activity. While Blackberry has become increasingly popular among teenagers, the technology was originally intended for business communication. As a result, a secure server allows messages to pass back and forth without the risk of public access; since this was the major form of communication, it was difficult for the authorities to track the movements of the rioters, allowing them to gather with less interference.
This instant and secure communications tool also produces what are known in America as, "Flash Mobs".
Much like BBM, Twitter helped shape the London riots. The origins of the riots was communication through BBM and a search for BBM on Twitter supports this. With access to Twitter as a communication medium, social media was used to rapidly spread messages of revolt among the rioters.
Interestingly, mobile phone operators T-Mobile and Orange prioritized police requests for information about the phones that were used to plan the riots that hit British cities. A statement from the owners reads:
"Everything Everywhere, which owns the T-Mobile and Orange brands and operates more than a third of UK mobile phones, confirmed that police had begun sending requests for information under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)."
The RIPA Act requires phone companies to hand over data about the locations calls were made from, the owners of phones, and lists of calls made to and from a particular handset.
Self-defense is being given a second look. On Amazon.com, sales of baseball bats and truncheons increased significantly overnight as a result of the riots. One politician stated, "We are already seeing a community kickback. People are angry. This is their neighbourhoods that are at stake." Political commentator Nile Gardiner suggested that the British Government should prompt a debate which will allow British business owners the right to keep and bear arms.
(NOTE: Sources used here include Wikipedia, Time, The UK Daily Telegraph, and "Five Days In August: The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel Report of 2012")
We have seen natural disasters as the cause of societal breakdown, as in the 1977 New York blackout, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In this event, we see a social incident as the trigger. Simmering animosity of both a social underclass and a criminal element seized an opportunity as it presented itself, to usher in days and nights of mayhem. In this event, we see several unique characteristics:
- The frightening speed in which chaos expanded from one neighborhood, to nearby towns, to an entire metropolitan area, and finally, nationwide;
- There was no "grid-down" component to this event, nor was there a dropoff in communications. Municipal services remained online for the entire event, as did radio, TV, Internet, and voice/text communications;
- Lawlessness erupted on a massive scale heretofore unheard of. Police and essential services were overwhelmed and inadequate during the initial stages of the crisis. Order and public safety reasserted themselves, notably WITHOUT any intervention from military assets - civilian authorities eventually rose to the challenge, but only after catastrophic damage was inflicted, and public confidence in authority had evaporated;
- The new dimension of voice/digital technology has proven to be what is referred to in the military as a "force multiplier". Criminal elements used social media and secure, instant communications to coordinate attacks, maintain watch on police, and organize themselves into what almost could be called "insurgent" elements;
- Midway during the event, several incidents of law-abiding innocents rising up and taking charge of the collapsing situation appeared. Some local communities began banding together for mutual defense. Others confronted the horde and faced them down. Britain is essentially a disarmed society, but there have been attempts to revisit the concept of self-defense;
Racial tensions in America have been at critical mass for generations, as evidenced by the 1968 Watts riots, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the racial undercurrents in the aftermath of Katrina, and potentially as a result of the upcoming Zimmerman Trial. We also observed the potential for orchestrated civil unrest, at the RNC Convention in Tampa, FL, and the veiled threats in conjunction with the 2012 election cycle. Whether the expected collapse comes as a result of natural, social, or manufactured events, it is incumbent upon the prepared to be aware of new technologies, their creative uses, and a swiftly morphing situation against which one can only react, no matter how detailed the preparations may be.
I now yield the floor for discussion.
The Watts riot was in 1965. I was there for the first two nights... ugh!
Documentation File on the harmful impact of the Counterculture of Obamanation on America.
Thank you very much for pointing that out!
Or a KelTec PMR30 (30 rounds .22 mag rimfire):
MSRP $415 - $700+ On GunBroker.
Colonel Jeff Cooper was fond of the lowly 22lr for riot control. One of these should work fine:
A pistol will work. But the longer sight radius of the carbine means greater accuracy and increased velocity and effectiveness.
Some of you may disagree with my observations, but after many years of being there immersed in all the people, I believe what I wrote is true.
No disagreement here from myself. Born in London many years ago, I saw the whole bloomin' thing during WW2. In the 1990's I was driven from Heathrow Airport through a large part of London. A sick feeling hit me. Much of it's makeup had gone. Formerly home to many, many others who fitted in- more or less. Irish, Jewish, all kinds. London a polyglot population for hundreds of years. Now unrecognizable.
I will not go into it here, that being the remaking of London. I noticed your very perceptive insight on accents. Here in Canada, my English wife just loves the Royal watchers on CBC television. I writhe as I listen to the accents, I know what drives 'em. Yet they survive and countless radio shows in England used to gently mock their accents. They did not turn a hair.
Oh well so it goes!
I concur with each of you.
During my trip to England in 2006, my family stayed in Surrey, south of London, and we took the trains into the city to go wherever we wished. At the time, at least in the districts we visited, the city was a good visit.
And yeah, we saw all the town names that got absorbed into Greater London. The same can be said of many US cities as well - NYC, Louisville, even Chicago and LA. A symptom of urban sprawl.
And after follow the Gibmedats. Another symptom of the disease.