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Reflecting on the August 2011 disturbances in Hackney COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES Paul Harvey – Ipsos MORI 14 November 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Reflecting on the August 2011 disturbances in Hackney COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES Paul Harvey – Ipsos MORI 14 November 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reflecting on the August 2011 disturbances in Hackney COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES Paul Harvey – Ipsos MORI 14 November 2011

2 WHO WAS CONSULTED? Over 2,000 residents and workers from across Hackney Male and female participation Age ranges 5 through to 95 A wide range of people reflecting the diverse Hackney population were consulted, including; – range of socio-economic backgrounds – range of ethnic backgrounds [BUT not representative of views of all in Hackney] Research and engagement took place in a range of locations; – community centres, arts venues, in-street, local barber shops, TV studios Utilising a range of approaches, including; – discussion groups, exploratory art, TV/web debates, Vox pops, workshops, forum theatre Fieldwork took place in October 2011


4 THEY DESCRIBE MUCH ANGER AND FRUSTRATION AMONGST CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY GROWING FRUSTRATION Growing divide between the rich and poor, haves and have nots Rising rents in Hackney Rising unemployment No EMA grant Despair about the future Closing down youth clubs A sense of nothing for young people to do => helplessness Lack of positive role models for many young people ANGER Government cuts Lack of benefit from Olympic regeneration Police treatment of young black men Police behaviour and attitude towards the community in general Nobody accountable anymore => Politicians and bankers all on the take Government not listening to us => protests falling on deaf ears (e.g. student protests)

5 HOW THOSE CONSULTED DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AND OTHERS IN HACKNEY Marginalised Disconnected Frustrated Bullied Poor Disengaged Oppressed Divided (socially) Victimised These feelings formed a volatile mix and the disturbances were felt to be an outlet for a broad range of emotions Disenfranchised

6 FOR ONE DAY – THIS ALL CHANGED Instead of being divided – people became united – Against the police, against oppression and poverty People were no longer victims but in control They were no longer marginalised and in the minority – they outnumbered the police They were no longer disengaged – they took direct action

7 CONCERNS WITH THE WAY PEOPLE ARE HARD-WIRED TO DEAL WITH THEIR FRUSTRATION AND ANGER There was a great deal of discussion around parenting and morals/values, with many feeling that poor parenting has contributed to some significant issues. They describe many people having; – poor communication skills – lack of basic social skills – lack of discipline – problems with anger management This lack of discipline and ability to communicate and express themselves in a positive and constructive manner was felt by many to be a key catalyst for the violence that erupted in August.

8 SETTING THE SCENE FOR EVENTS OF 8 TH AUGUST There was a sense that frustration has been building for a long time over a wide range of issues; the majority of these issues are felt to result in a lack of control and hope for many, particularly the young and those from poorer sections of the community This growing frustration, combined with feelings of anger directed at the authorities and the police in particular were seen as the foundation for the disturbances in Hackney. Those consulted feel things were then sparked as a result of two main issues; – reaction to the Mark Duggan incident (lack of police accountability); and – the resulting disturbances in Tottenham (including video footage of a 16 year old girl being assaulted by police) and neighbouring areas

9 POOR RELATIONS BETWEEN THE POLICE AND THE COMMUNITY WERE FELT TO BE CRUCIAL FACTORS Conversation about the police and the way they behave towards the local community – especially perceived abuse of stop and search powers on young black men – dominated conversations, stressing; The result is a lack of trust and respect and a growing animosity between the police and certain sections of the community WHAT THE POLICE DO - abuse their powers - stereotype young people - harass young black people through stop & search - take a harder line in the way they treat people from poor, BME and homeless backgrounds WHAT THE POLICE DONT DO - show any respect to people - protect the local community - police poor areas in the same way they do the richer areas (felt to be much slower to respond) - communicate effectively with people, especially young people

10 THOUGHTS ON THE ROLE OF MARK DUGGANS DEATH IN THE EVENTS IN HACKNEY The killing of Mark Duggan was widely cited as the spark – but not the event itself. Conversation here addressed what the Mark Duggan case means to people in Hackney; – a sense that it is another example of a young black man being victimised – another example of the police getting away with it – more of the police telling lies e.g. about Mark Duggan firing at them first – a complete disrespect shown to his family, no communication => many people in Haringey and Hackney in particular really identified with the way his family must have felt – feeling that the key to the disturbances flaring up in Tottenham in the first place was more the assault of a 16 year old girl during the peaceful protest => this went viral on the internet and for many was the key initial spark These events were a trigger but people were keen to stress that there are many deep underlying reasons to explain the Hackney disturbances

11 THE ROLE OF GANGS? => NOT GANG CULTURE BUT A GANG MENTALITY People described the police and the rioters acting as two gangs against each other There was an overwhelming sense of people coming together as one to cause disturbances => unusually they walked side- by-side with postcode wars put on hold. – Became a much larger gang than the police gang a number of gangs had drawn together to fight a common enemy, the Police


13 THE WHOLE COMMUNITY? The narrative and recollections of the disturbances tended to include all sections of the community THOSE WHO WERE ACTIVELY INVOLVED those engaging in violent acts (throwing missiles, arson, vandalism) those stealing and looting people trying to stop the disturbances business owners/workers protecting their premises AND THOSE WHO WERE PASSIVELY INVOLVED people milling around and watching but not doing anything wrong residents watching from a safe distance people passing through the area IMPORTANT TO BE CLEAR WHAT WE MEAN BY INVOLVED

14 DIFFICULT TO PIN THE BLAME ON PARTICULAR GROUPS OF PEOPLE BUT - Those involved in causing trouble can be categorised; – people who are frustrated and angry at the police and authorities for a number of reasons => those more focussed on attacking property and the police, an opportunity to vent their anger – people who feel society disrespects and disadvantages them => those taking a role in all aspects of the disturbances, an opportunity to regain some power and control – people taking advantage of the lawlessness, being opportunistic => those more likely to be engaging in stealing and looting, an opportunity to run amok and join in

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