A year on from the August riots of 2011, Ben Rossington profiles those who took to the streets on Merseyside
ONE in five of those arrested during the riots that hit parts of Merseyside last summer had no previous criminal convictions, the ECHO can reveal today.
The outbreak of violence which began in Toxteth and spread to parts of Wirral and Sefton over two consecutive nights saw police out on the streets in force as they tried to restore law and order.
Over the two nights, police recorded 195 “riot-related” crimes – criminal damage, wanton destruction, assaults, arsons – and had locked up 79 alleged rioters by Thursday, August 11, when total peace was finally returned to the streets.
By then, patrols out in Toxteth’s Lodge Lane and Smithdown Road were giving those running around the streets a choice – go home or get locked up.
A huge intensive operation was put into place – codenamed Derwent – that saw detectives from the force’s Major Incident Team brought in to hunt down those responsible.
Despite having little more than grainy CCTV and a list of descriptions that mainly read: “Young male, black tracksuit, hat or face covering . . . ” the detective team put 93 people before the courts for “violent disorder” or other riot-related crimes.
Of those arrested between Monday, August 8, and Thursday, August 11:
73% were white
43% aged 10-17
22% with no previous convictions but 84% of rioters have had “previous contact” with police
7% with 50 or more previous against their name.
Only two people arrested were said by police to be “gang members” based on police intelligence sources.
The operation to catch those responsible went on for months and alleged rioters are still appearing in court. As of the beginning of June, the last up to date figures available, eight of the 93 suspects charged over the disorder were still waiting to have their cases finalised.