|Call For Action On Causes Of Riots|
Gary Malcolm wants Ealing Council to react
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, who was caught up in last year's riots in Ealing, wants to know how the local Council plans to react to the National Panel's report on the causes of the violence.
Ealing suffered badly when rioters set fire to shops and looted property and Cllr. Malcolm became unwittingly caught up in the melee when riding his bicycle, witnessing some of the violence at first hand.
The National Panel which reported earlier this week, made sixty recommendations. One included a call on local authorities to flag up youngsters from the age of eleven who might wind up unemployed. Another was for schools to focus on building 'character', while the most public was the recommendation for help for the nation's half-a-million 'forgotten families'.
The Panel's Chairman, Darra Singh said, "We must give everyone a stake in society. There are people 'bumping along the bottom', unable to change their lives. When people don't feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating."
Councillor Malcolm said, "The panel is correct to state there were many factors that led to the riots and there is not one silver bullet that would stop another riot from happening again. I think it is crucial to state that anyone who stole or caused damage to property or people had no excuse and it was correct that the legal system needed to show that behaviour was totally immoral."
He recalled that he was cycling south of Haven Green, Ealing on the night of August 8th when he first observed the violence.
" To my north and west were some police barricades. Where I was, it was initially tricky to get away as there were quite a lot of people looking like they may be part of the groubles so I initially stayed near to Ealing Green".
At first he tried to cycle north but the police were stopping people going that way, and there was an unpleasant smell like burnt mattresses or sofas, he recalled. When he tried to go southwards a group of people who had come from Brentford were coming against him and some of them threw bottles and sticks in his direction. A few bottles went over his head and he got away going via the road to Ealing Common tube station.
He continued : "There are many actions which should be taken by the Government, councils, schools, the police and parents to both increase opportuities for the unemployed, prevent re-offending, improve parenting and reacting quicker when problems arise. I will be asking Ealing council what it is planning to do in reaction to the Panel's conclusions.
March 30, 2012