Thursday, 11 August 2011

Those Involved in Rioting not Rioters

I read a couple of days ago Tim Worstall suggesting that people don't get arrested for the crime of rioting because doing so requires the police to have to pay for the damage caused. And then today just as I got in my car and turned the radio on Frank Dobson asked the following question in the House
In response to the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), the Home Secretary said that no one had been charged with riot because the particular circumstances of riot had not arisen, or the charge was inappropriate. Will she confirm that that fact will not be used by the Metropolitan police to weasel out of providing the compensation that should be provided under the Riot (Damages) Act?
The response was:
I think I can provide that guarantee to the right hon. Gentleman.
So it looks like Tim was half right, maybe. No one arrested for riot but the police will still have to pay out. Not entirely convinced that no one has been charged with riot. The original question from Mr Burrowes stated:
Does she share my concern that, although we talk about riots, the number of people charged with riot is very small?
and the Home Sec replied:
My hon. Friend refers to the fact that no one has been charged with the very specific offence of riot. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service are making the right charging decisions, and they are doing so in the context of ensuring that they recognise the impact that people being on the streets can have.
It isn't obvious from that that she is stating categorically that no one has been charged with riot, it looks more like she's simply parroting what she thought the questioner had said.

The Hansard source is here:

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