On Tuesday night there was a lot of twitter conversation about expected trouble in Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate. I contacted our local police commander around 6pm to ask what intelligence the police had on potential trouble in these local areas. The commander checked police information and phoned me back to say there was nothing coming in on that over the police information channels. Police information was correct.
Whilst Tottenham High Road sustained massive damage (as we all saw) – in Hornsey & Wood Green constituency – Wood Green High road had substantial looting and vandalism – but the other areas like Hornsey, Crouch End, Bounds Green, Muswell Hill and Highgate were more fortunate – sustaining random acts of vandalism and looting on a few individual businesses.
Having visited Tottenham and Wood Green on Monday, yesterday I went to visit some of the traders in Muswell Hill and Crouch End who had suffered damage and/or looting: an optician and a mobile phone shop in Muswell Hill and a cafe in Crouch End. They were all open for business and pretty stoic in the face of events. Clearly – the level of damage was nowhere near as great as the major areas – but the anxiety of the shop-keepers had inevitably heightened with one shopkeeper now removing his total stock to the safe each night – taking staff an hour so to do.
Today – Parliament is recalled. At 11.30 the Prime Minister will make a statement on the riots. At 13.30 (or later depending how long the first statement and responses run) the Chancellor will update us on the economic situation. When that concludes – the Home Secretary will open the debate on the riots.
Two departments will also be publishing at 11.30 information on what measures the government is taking to help those hit by the riots and hopefully information on issues around insurance.
To me the priorities have been clear. First duty is to restore law and order. Second is to make sure that those who committed criminal acts are brought to justice. In terms of roof over head, clothes and food for those who have lost their homes – in Haringey the priority has been to help those people.
And today – I think we will begin to hear the broader discussion – on how and why this happened.