HC 1456 Home Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Anthony Sims

I expect the following have been posed many times since the recent events of serious disorder:

1.It seems obvious that if the police had been positioned to quell the disorder on the Saturday, the subsequent events would not have resulted in such destruction and disorder. Why were they not prepared for such an event, given the “local” history of similar escalations?

2.I know that if the government, London authorities and police had been asked to confirm that plans for policing during the Olympics were on-track/in-place they would have ridiculed anyone questioning their “positive” responses. It is obvious that they were under a mis-apprehension! If these events had occurred in the weeks prior to the Olympics or during the Olympics (and anywhere in the country)—on a scale remotely approaching the level just witnessed—cancellation would have been the only realistic outcome and the damage could have been far worse, with resources at that time concentrated in London. Why is there such naivety in those who should know better—with our experience of dealing with terrorism over many decades and, particularly, following the disastrous response to the bomb attacks in 2005 (the latter showed how poorly prepared we really were)? Is now the right time to even consider cuts to policing, let alone the government forcing them through?

3.Given the sight of so many onlookers—taking snaps and finding the whole series of events so hilarious and amusing—is it now time to consider outlawing such by-standing, thereby giving the authorities better access to the scenes of disorder? Charge the onlookers!

August 2011

Prepared 22nd December 2011