SEC Call For Full Account Of Ealing Riots
Will French from Save Ealing's Centre writes to the Ealing Council Leader
The Ealing community was horrified, angered, and very shaken by the shocking events in Ealing and West Ealing of August 8th. It's hard to believe the sheer amount of damage that was caused, or that an innocent local pensioner could be killed by a rampaging mob in the heart of our town centre, or that our streets could be blocked with burned out cars. We extend our strongest sympathies to all the traders who suffered loss or damage - especially the smaller ones. They need, and will I am sure receive, our fullest support.
As we'd expect after such trauma, the community has quickly came together to condemn the perpetrators and clean up the damage. Elected leaders have been commendably to the fore, performing a vital role of reassuring the public and steadying nerves while the forces of law and order reasserted themselves.
The question on my mind is where we go from here? Both the Government and the Mayor have already started to consider their options. But what about here in Ealing? Ealing people will be hoping for a clear response strategy which answers local concerns. But it will be vital for this response must properly reflect what happened - that is to say it must be evidence based.
A very high early priority is a sober account of Monday night’s events. We do not have this yet and instead for most of us our knowledge remains a vivid collage of TV and newspaper reports and the accounts of individual eyewitnesses. The whole community needs to know precisely what did happen. We need maps that show what damage was done and which parts of Ealing were affected. Was the assault on West Ealing part of the same riot as in Ealing Town Centre or were they two separate enterprises? Was it all pre-arranged or was it spontaneous? Just who were the people involved? Are they local, or did they come from afar? Are they gangs, mainly school kids, or mostly older and unemployed? What on earth were they thinking of when they embarked on their rampage?
These and other questions need addressing now while memories are fresh. Police reports will provide much detail, additional evidence will emerge from the innumerable court cases now in process, and there are many eye witnesses who have stories to tell. We need all this to be collated and published so that the inevitable calls for action can be assessed and responded to on their merits, not on the basis say of narrow individual perspective or on political ideology.
SEC stands by to support such an accounting in any way we can, but it will best for the Council to come to the fore and demonstrate local leadership by coordinating and publishing what it finds, and to do so not in a dusty Committee report but in a way that everyone can get access to. And of course once it has done that the Council will be in a good position to decide what steps to take to make sure the events on Monday 8th August are never repeated.
As I know you will agree it is important the way Ealing responds must rise above individual party political agendas, so I am copying this email to leaders of the other parties.
My sincere thanks for all three of you for your efforts so far in restoring confidence in Ealing.
Save Ealing's Centre
NB a special meeting to discuss the riots will be held tomorrow (Tuesday 16th August) at the Council House (7pm).
15 August 2011