The whole United Kingdom was affected by a recession bybut the local African-Caribbean community was suffering particularly high unemployment, poor housing, and a higher than average crime rate. Although it was subsequently determined that the seat of the fire was in an armchair inside the house and probably accidental, at the time it was suspected to be a racially-motivated arson attack by someone outside the property, and the police investigation was criticised as inadequate when it did not support that view. Les Back wrote that "While the local press reported the march respectfully, the national papers unloaded the full weight of racial stereotyping.
Lord Scarman was appointed by then Home Secretary William Whitelaw on 14 April two days after the rioting ended to hold the enquiry into the riots. At the time when Brixton underwent deep social and economic problems — high unemploymenthigh crimepoor housing, no amenities — in a predominantly African-Caribbean community.
Plain clothes police officers were dispatched into Brixton, and in five days almost 1, people were stopped and searched. The riot resulted in injuries to police and 65 injuries to members of the public; over a hundred vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles; and almost buildings were damaged, with 28 burned.
There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5, people were involved in the riot. Evidence As part of the inquiry the following individuals and groups gave evidence: Lord Scarman stated that "complex political, social and economic factors" created a "disposition towards violent protest".
The Scarman report highlighted problems of racial disadvantage and inner city decline, warning that "urgent action" was needed to prevent racial disadvantage becoming an "endemic, ineradicable disease threatening the very survival of our society". The report details the use of arbitrary roadblocks, the stopping and searching of pedestrians and mass detention stops, arrests and 75 charges.
Operation Swamp 81 was conducted by the police without any consultation with the community or the home-beat officers. Liaison arrangements between police, community and local authority had collapsed before the riots and according to the Scarman report, the local community mistrusted the police and their methods of policing.
Scarman recommended changes in training and law enforcement, and the recruitment of more ethnic minorities into the police force.
According to the report " institutional racism " did not exist, but positive discrimination to tackle racial disadvantage was "a price worth paying". Multi-agency and "soft" policing emerged through community consultation, youth and "race relations" services.
The debate in the House of Parliament to mark the publication of the Scarman report on the 26 November had as its theme "law and order" and the then leader of the Liberal PartyDavid Steelargued that "urgent action" to prevent a drift into lawlessness was necessary. A subsequent debate on March referenced the events of and focused on the impact of street violence, crime, decaying urban conditionsand the danger of "more violence to come" if changes in both police tactics and social policy were not swiftly introduced.
While both the Conservative and Labour speakers in the parliamentary debate on the riots accepted the need to support the police, substantial disagreement centred on the issue of what role social deprivation and unemployment had in bringing young people to protest violently on the streets.
Scarman was concerned with the "plight" of the ethnic communities in UK inner cities and their relationship with the rest of the national "community". He concluded that it was essential that "people are encouraged to secure a stake in, feel a pride in, and have a sense of responsibility for their own area".
While the importance of community involvement in policing was recognised, the Scarman report pointed to "community redevelopment and planning" as the main area of concern. Scarman called for a policy of "direct coordinated attack on racial disadvantage".
Lord Scarman identified the causes of the riots in the pathology of the Caribbean family, in the question of bilingualism amongst Asian children and in the undefined problem of policing a multi-racial society. There he meets criminals, who appear to have no difficulty obtaining the benefits of a materialist society.The findings of the Scarman report led to the introduction of many measures to improve trust and understanding between the police and ethnic minority communities.
But racial tensions - particularly with the police -continued to spark public disorder in the UK.
Apr 11, · The Scarman report does not apportion blame to the police. While the report acknowledges that "ill considered, immature and racially prejudiced actions of some officers" contributed to the riots Lord Scarman only acknowledges "unwitting discrimination against Black people".
The Scarman Report 24 Specialist Support Units 25 Table of Contents 5. 6. A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s 7 of the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police, and the Chief Executive of Centrex, for their assistance and support during the inspection.
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The Brixton riot, or Brixton uprising, was a confrontation between the Metropolitan Police and protesters in Lambeth, South London, England, between 10 and 12 April Similarly, I endorse the need for regular and systematic consultation at borough level in the Metropolitan Police district, where Lord Scarman recommends that the Home Secretary should remain police authority.