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London Riots: News on Shooters Update

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When the riots took place in 2011 across the nation I reported that the Police and a helicopter were fired upon ELEVEN TIMES during the riots in August, occuring in Aston, Birmingham.

Below is a Helicopter infrared video still of two men who as I reported at the time “are wanted by the police.”

They have now been given jail sentences between 12 and 30 years; the youngest member of this group last name Rehman was ‘found guilty of riot and firearms possession with intent’ and given the shortest sentence of the group, he will be serving 12 years in prison.

The sentences were given to seven members of the group which were caught on Infra-red Camera by a police helicopter, which was shot upon during this incident in August 2011, they have been charged for firearms possession, reckless arson and rioting.

The following are photos from the Daily Mail showing the culprits and their sentences.

Nicholas Francis, 26, was described by the judge as ‘a dangerous man’ and was jailed for 30 years, the 5 others are Lewis, 27, and Laidley, 20, both jailed for 23 years, Farrell, 20, and Collins, 25, both jailed for 18 years, 17-year-old, named as Rehman after judge lifts order, gets 12 years.

Judge Davis also said of the crimes committed by the latter, that :

“The purpose of all this was not to loot or to steal, nor was it mindless vandalism. The purpose, the common purpose, was to behave in such a way that the police would come to the scene and then to attack the police.”

At the time my blog reported that eleven shots had been fired, this number of shots fired at the police and the helicopter is now said to be around 12 and reports have come through that a total of four fire-arms were being used by the members of this group.

They have been linked to two gangs within Birmingham; to fire these many shots at police officers and a Police Helicopter is beyond outrageous, they are now facing what seems to be the full extent of the law for their actions of intending to endanger life as Judge Davis pointed out in court.


The convicted rioters firing at the police helicopter during the Birmingham riots

The above shows a member of this mob, of which there were around 40, taking aim at Police officers, Judge Davis went on to comment on the seriousness of this action and other similar actions on that day (9th August 2011) he said in court:

“The intention was to endanger life. Although no physical injury was suffered, that was wholly a matter of luck. Had the police helicopter been struck, the consequences could have been catastrophic. There may have been no physical injury to a police officer, but the damage to the wellbeing of the city of Birmingham caused by an armed gang prepared to act in this way was grave. It is very difficult to conceive a case of this type more serious than this one.”

At the time Chief Constable of West Midlands, Chris Sims said in a statement of the helicopter footage that: “This footage shows seemingly co-ordinated criminal behaviour with no regard for people’s lives, whether it be through the setting of a fire, shooting at unarmed officers or shooting at the police helicopter.”

It was not only the police who were targeted by the mob on that night but also The Barton Arms pub, it was smashed and set alight whilst the residents inside the pub took refuge in a room above the pub.

They caused much damaged to the Barton Arms pub and other premises in the area by throwing petrol bombs and smashing shop windows with chairs. Officers in patrol cars attempted to stop the looting and rioters, the police cars had petrol bombs thrown at them; at 11.50pm officers attempted to disperse the group, this was when the 12 shots were fired at them and at the West Midlands helicopter.

Below is a video from the Guardian.co.uk which shows the events of that dangerous night.



Judge Davis went on to say in his statements about the sentencing of these 6 individuals:

“It is pure good fortune that no police officer was hit by one or more of those shots. There was gunshot damage to a wall immediately below where the police officers were standing. There was gunshot damage to a building behind them indicated that bullets passed just over their heads. Those who fired the shots were not standing alone. Many members of the group remained close to them as they did so.”

These fired bullets it would evidently seem were very close to injuring or taking the life of one or more of the police officers on the scene on that night. Further remarks from Judge Davis include “When the firearms were used, that was not done randomly. There was a concerted attack on the police with guns.”

“Had the police helicopter been struck, the consequences could have been catastrophic. There may have been no physical injury to a police officer. The damage to the well-being of the city of Birmingham caused by an armed gang prepared to act in this way was grave.”

Whether the Police will be making further arrests regarding this incident, remains to be seen.

What is definate is that those who go to court if arrested, will most likely receive sentences from 12 years upwards for this plot to endanger police life and deliberately bring the police to the scene only to begin an attack on them.

I’ll conclude with a quote from the judge who remarks generally about the riots in Birmingham:

Judge Davis said: “No ordinary person could walk the streets of the ­centre of Birmingham in safety.”

This sums up the atmosphere around everywhere at the time these riots took place all around the nation, the controversial decision to go ahead with police cuts is now questionable more than ever.The Police organised a march in protest at these cuts, the march went ahead and whether there will be more cuts to be made is what many will not want to see.

August riots: UK update on Police

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You may recall the student protests of November 2010 there was also much damage caused to London, before the riots of August 2011. Both of the latter prolific events that have hit England have seen clashes with the Police.

Here are some key images from the student protest that turned violent:

The police have had to face this same problem of violence against them and the August riots have become another similar scene:

Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers has spoken of historical riots and of people who clash with the police:

“with many of these events, it is a case of people who feel disenfranchised in the far broader sense exhibiting their displeasure with the current government through attacking the cops—not far different from what you saw [at the student protests].”

The question that should be looked at now – is whether this is a real solution to anything – many would argue that we live in a democracy where one can make their voices heard in a ‘realistic’ way such as mass peaceful protest, which in the student protests many abided to.

The same cannot be said about the August riots – what started off as a peaceful protest on Friday 5th August, (Thursday 4th August was the shooting of Mark Duggan which occured at 6:15pm) turned into a full blown riot on Saturday night (6th August), copy cat riots happened all across the UK. Although in the student riots the majority were peaceful; The August riots it is reported – (by many including BBC’s Panorama) – that a group of between 200 and 300 turned violent outside a police station in Tottenham (there is also speculation that this was due to a female being hit by a police officer). The police have labelled these riots in the aftermath as having to deal with a “unique” situation/case (where the majority were no longer abidng to a peaceful protest) – protests are mainly and usually peaceful in the UK which is mostly the case and these actions of protest are welcomed and applauded by the Government, the rioting and looting are not, and the government and courts are ensuring that those involved become conscious of this, through regular speeches and sentencing.

Hugh Orde – said of the student riots in November 2010 : “My sense of it was that the vast majority of people were exercising their democratic right to protest. But embedded in that crowd were people absolutely determined to cause as much disorder and mayhem as they could.” he also says they don’t know what their doing and that “they get caught up in the event.”

President Orde also said in the interview which was in February this year – of the student protests – “My sense is that the majority of people don’t want to cause extreme violence, and I still believe that it is not good enough to throw our hands up in the air and say  oh, we can’t negotiate because there is no one to negotiate with.”

Mr Orde goes on to say “There are lots of people we can talk to, but they need to stand up and lead their people too. If they don’t, we must be clear that the people who wish to demonstrate won’t engage, communicate or share what they intend to do with us, and so our policing tactics will have to be different. And the public [will] have a much better understanding of why police tactics have to be slightly more extreme, if the public understands that the only reason these tactics are necessary is that protestors will not engage with us pre-event. If the protestors will not talk to us, well, we can’t just not police the event.”

Many from the Government – as things stand – may question why the police did not take a more pro-arrest approach and use robust methods if necessary; if this action would further protect people and their property and community. The police overall managed to stop the rioting a week after the shooting of Mr Duggan. And there have been a few hero stories from the police – side – where a small group of officers took on hundreds of rioters by charging them and securing their perimeters together. The riots have caused worldwide condemnation and shock – they have also left much damage and altered communities dramatically in their appearance.

 As for the police they have been described as using what has been described as “soft” tactics; and David Cameron said: “The tactics the police were using weren’t working”. The police will be receiving further training and a review of the police is to take place. Also the government are looking to go ahead with police-cuts.

Mr Cameron also announced :

“The security fightback will start with a stronger police presence – walking the beat, deterring crime and ready to crack down at the first sign of trouble. Paperwork will be reduced to get more police officers out on the streets, while accountability to the public will be improved through elected police and crime commissioners. Police powers will also be increased. The police already have the power to issue dispersal orders, while over the coming months:

  • gang injunctions will be extended to under-18s
  • police will be allowed to remove face coverings from rioters
  • the power to confiscate offenders’ property will be looked at”

The government and the police have since the rioting looked at police powers:  The police have already been authorised to use baton rounds. While water cannons aren’t currently needed, plans have been put in place for them to be available at 24 hours’ notice. The police will also be given the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity.

In other news: Sir Hugh Orde has applied to be the next Commisioner of the Metropolitan Police – after Sir Paul Stephenson resigned over the News of the World hacking scandal. More than 3,300 people have now been arrested across the country.

Courts in London, Manchester and the West Midlands are working hard to clear the backlog of cases.

The IPCC are still working on their report of the shooting of Mark Duggan.

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