Police chief praises officers on ‘worst night of disorder Barking and Dagenham has ever seen’

Police borough commander Matt Bell has released the following statement about the rioting and looting in Barking Town Centre last Monday night.

“Monday 8th August 2011 was the worst night of disorder Barking and Dagenham has ever seen.

The immediate need to bring calm to the streets meant that 156 officers, including TSG and Dog Units, were called to duty to conduct foot, cycle, high visibility and plain clothed patrols on our borough.

Following this brief period of unrest, I think it is important that we recognise that only a very small minority of people were involved in the criminality that took place here. And it was criminality. There will never be an excuse for causing harm, fear and damage to innocent local people and the area they live, work or raise their families in.

I will ensure that my team of officers and staff continue to do everything possible to ensure that those responsible for Monday’s unrest are placed before the courts.

Youth on our borough are, in the majority, law abiding. We support the ‘99% campaign’, believing that most young people do not commit serious or violent crime.

My Safer Neighbourhoods Teams will continue to work with local communities and partnership organisations to address youth issues and formulate long term solutions and alternatives to gang culture.

Most Read

Police and the council-run schemes such as the Volunteer Police Cadets which engage and develop youngsters locally. My officers and council staff are involved in the setting up of Youth Clubs across the borough and have also organised schemes such as Kickz, Metracks, Hoops for Health and AmBox Contender.It is vital that we, as a community, provide the support that our youngsters need in order to develop into responsible, productive adults.

Grown ups can help by volunteering to assist in organising and supervising youth activities. For more information go to: www.youlondon.org.uk and www.do-it.org.uk

Lastly, I would like to reiterate the immense pride that I felt during this difficult time not only in the professionalism and bravery of my officers, the dedication and flexibility of borough agencies, but also at the resilience of the law abiding majority on this borough who have bounced back to normality with impressive resolve and dignity.

Communities have also joined together to perform clean up operations throughout the borough. The speed with which we have recovered from the recent disorder is true testament to the famed community spirit of Barking and Dagenham Borough.”