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Three quarters of London rioters have criminal records: statistics

(Xinhua)

10:54, September 16, 2011

LONDON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The British Ministry of Justice (MOJ) revealed Thursday that nearly three quarters of those who have appeared before the courts in connection with August's riots had previous criminal conviction.

According to the statistics MOJ published on its website, 73 percent of those arrested and who have so far appeared before the courts had criminal records.

The riots in August which saw burglary, looting, arson and murder first on the streets of London and after three nights on the streets of other English cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham, were described by police at the time as the worst rioting in living memory.

The violence was sparked by a protest over the killing of Mark Duggan, a suspect armed with a gun, by a police marksman in north London on August 4. Anger boiled over two days later at a peaceful protest outside a police station in the north London district of Tottenham.

Rioters then burnt and looted shops in the area, and on the night afterwards copycat rioting broke out in other areas of London.

Police were criticized for a slow and ineffectual handling of the riots, and the criminal justice system responded by quickly handling cases and handing out stern sentences on those found guilty.

The MOJ said that up to Sept. 12, 1,715 suspects have had an initial hearing at magistrates' courts, the first level of courts in the English system, and that most of those hearings (67 percent) were in London.

Of these cases, 21 percent were aged 10-17 and 79 percent were adults, and that 90 percent of these were males. Of those found guilty and jailed, the average sentence was over 11 months.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke told local media that his ministry's figures confirmed that the rioters had been "existing criminals on the rampage."

"I am dismayed to see a hardcore of repeat offenders back in the system," Clarke added.

The MOJ statistical report commented that those brought before the courts were "much more likely than the population as a whole to have previous convictions."

The figures' release came as the coalition government's work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, responsible for the benefits system said in an interview with The Times newspaper that he believed the existence of ghettos of poverty in inner-city areas were an important reason behind the riots.

"For years now, too many people have remained unaware of the true nature of life on some of our estates. This was because we had ghettoised many of these problems, keeping them out of sight of the middle class majority. But last month the inner-city finally came to call, and the country was shocked by what it saw," Duncan Smith said.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:陈乐乐)

Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

pramod kumar at 2012-01-08117.201.53.*
criminals can not be controlled without a good social management
Mary at 2011-10-1386.176.201.*
Don"t you think that it was easier for the Police to identify existing criminals from CCTV footage, as opposed to first time offenders who had to be identified through facebook, so the statistics are skewed and unreliable?
  

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