Landlords criticise government panel’s riot recommendations
Report: ‘Housing staff should police riots’
Front line housing staff should ‘patrol the streets’ to prevent future riots, according to the official report into the summer’s disturbances.
The recommendations were published on Monday in the communities and victims panel interim report into the riots which spread across England in August. The report was commissioned by the government.
In its report, the panel, chaired by former housing boss Darra Singh, warned that without urgent action the riots ‘will happen again’.
The report said: ‘Local authorities should engage all front line workers (e.g. neighbourhood wardens) when there is a risk of rioting, for example to patrol the streets.’
It added that local authorities ‘should consider asking charities and housing associations to help prevent disturbances’.
Social landlords immediately raised significant concerns about the recommendations.
Bill Payne, group chief executive of Metropolitan Housing Partnership, which saw 26 of its homes destroyed by arsonists during rioting in Tottenham, north London, said: ‘Why would housing associations use their resources to patrol the streets? And why should tenants have to pay for this through their rents?
‘Housing officers’ jobs are hard enough already. We do work on social cohesion - but the day we start policing our tenants is when we let our tenants down. It shows a lack of respect for tenants and a gross misunderstanding of our role.’
Abigail Davies, assistant director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: ‘People are concerned about having to take on policing duties along with associated costs. Many are wary about fulfilling that role because it affects relations with tenants.’
The report concluded no single group or cause was responsible for the disturbances between 6 and 10 August and estimated that between 13,000 and 15,000 people were actively involved in the riots.
It revealed that 26 per cent of those who had appeared before the courts for crimes committed during the disorder were aged between 10 and 17. Forty-six per cent of this group live in the 10 per cent lowest income areas.
Inside Housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation will publish their own Riot Report on 10 February.