Last night was a night that showed Gloucester at its worst. Mindless vandalism, arson and general thuggery which according to media reports started in Barton and moved onto Eastgate Street. While not of the scale on what happened in London, it is still depressing that these people thought it would be a good idea to go out into the streets and “kick off” just because it is something they saw on the TV.
You could understand it (if not agree with it) if there had been some really big event that had triggered it for local reasons, and many would ascribe it to political unrest at the cuts, or a kick back about the Police shooting in Tottenham, but in reality that’s all rubbish. Listening to some of the youths being interviewed, they were doing it because they could, and they didn’t want to miss out on picking up some free “bling”. One person actually said that even if he got caught, then he doesn;t have a criminal record, therefore would get off with at worst an ASBO, at best he gets a load of new stuff.
In Gloucester we have been somewhat lucky, the cuts have not affected frontline policing, and the senior officers had obviously done some effective planning which saw the situation pretty well contained. However, we should ask if it could have been extinguished had we not had to sent some of our officers elsewhere to support other forces? I know that the Gloucester Officers are working long days and they need our support as a community to help them be as effective as possible.
What we see today and the comments I have seen on social media, do show Gloucester at its best, people outraged at what has happened and taking it personally, and the likes of the local media trying to get some volunteer clean up sessions and the like.
I hope that this was just a one-off, and people will stand up against this mindless vandalism. If you see anything kicking off tonight, make the police aware, perhaps (if you feel safe enough to do so) take photos that could be used to identify and prosecute. Make sure your friends and loved ones stay safe and discourage your younger family members from taking to the streets. If you know anyone who took part last night, don’t just be silent, name and shame them. Most of all, we must remember that this is our City and we must take responsibility and send a clear message that we will stand against that which seeks to bring it down.
- Gloucester suffers night of violence as rioting spreads (telegraph.co.uk)