Only a third of rioters were minors in Barking and Dagenham, figures show

Only a third of rioters caught up in the violence in Barking and Dagenham this summer were under 18, figures have revealed.

The police statistics seem to dispel widespread views the majority of thugs who joined the disturbances were youths, according to a council-led study.

Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum said gang culture, benefit cuts and the feeling of “being let down” by central government had led to the rioting on London’s streets.

The forum also warned a similar event could take place again unless root causes were addressed.

Forum member Azaan Akbar, 17, of Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, said: “If the root causes are not addressed there could be another riot on a smaller or similar scale.

“The riots were a protest that turned into criminality. If there was more discipline, they would not go rioting.

“We should look at trying to establish a better relationship between society and young people. There is a lot of demonising of young people.”

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Eight of the 25 apprehended within the borough were minors, according to a report published by the Barking and Dagenham Council safer and stronger communities select committee.

The council review of the riots also showed police were drafted in from the north of England in anticipation of the disorder, before 200 people took part in looting and violence in Barking and Dagenham on August 8.

Looters were channelled onto the Gascoigne Estate in St Marys, Barking, causing “considerable anxiety” for residents, the council study also revealed, while 150 people descended on Heathway, Dagenham, the following night setting fire to bins.

The council concluded the national coverage about Barking riot victim Mohammed Ashraf Haziq had given disproportionate exposure to the east London borough after figures showed just 46 incidents had been recorded in Barking and Dagenham out of 3,500 in London in September.