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Stringer: 'The Police Failed Manchester on Riots'

GMP has questions to answer says controversial MP

Written by . Published on August 12th 2011.


Stringer: 'The Police Failed Manchester on Riots'

GREATER Manchester Police failed to protect property, people and businesses in Manchester City Centre and Salford Precinct on Tuesday night.

This is a statement of fact not yet a criticism.

Instead of Manchester preparing for the blight, stable doors in London were banging loudly as 50 to 100 of our best trained officers were dispatched to sit in buses."

It means two fundamental questions have to be asked. Firstly, could the Chief Constable have deployed the resources at his disposal in a more effective fashion and secondly if in the future there are similar riotous criminal assaults here will they be stopped?

The answer to the first question is yes, as it should be to the second, but only if the mistakes and misjudgements on Tuesday are acknowledged.

The first mistake was not to learn from the experience of the Metropolitan Police. According to the Prime Minister, Tim Godwin, acting commissioner, has recognised it was inappropriate to treat the initial disturbances in Tottenham as a public order issue for too long rather than essentially one of crime.

This mistake had two consequences; not enough of the Met's 32,500 police officers were deployed quickly enough and those that were did not intervene often enough when arson, vandalism and theft were taking place.  

The TV pictures from Tottenham soon inspired copycat criminal activity in many other parts of London, and then Birmingham and Liverpool on Monday night.

Instead of Manchester preparing for the blight to spread here, stable doors in London were banging loudly as 50 to 100 of our best trained officers were dispatched to sit in buses in the capital while the fuse was being lit under Manchester.  

The Chief Constable has said that Tuesday night was not predicted or predictable. I don’t agree.

By late Tuesday lunch time walking round Harpurhey and Collyhurst and by going on Twitter it was obvious something was going to' go off', even if we weren’t sure where.

The first and probably most violent confrontation took place in the late afternoon/early evening at Salford Precinct. The police on the scene were not trained for riots and were not in riot gear. They had instructions to stand by and watch. They eventually fell back.

This, as my colleague Hazel Blears has said, had a devastating effect on public confidence. The instructions were wrong and riot police should have been quickly available. When the rioters moved on to the centre of Manchester, riot police were present but watched as hooligans looted shops and set fire to Miss Selfridge.

When Labour councillors asked the police why they were standing by, they were informed that they had been given instruction to hold the line so they could create sterile zones. Manchester City Centre was vandalised from one end to the other.

Since then I have talked to a number of police officers who have told me the riot gear they are equipped with is two decades old and too heavy to enable them to give chase.       

The apotheosis of this failed strategy came when the Assistant Chief Constable gave a press conference in the late evening; he informed us that after five hours of rioting by hundreds of people, only 15 arrests had been made but they did have lots of photographs of offenders. This certainly left him open to serious satire. 

I have written this article because I support the police but my side lost on Tuesday night.

It was a victory for criminals. This must not happen again. There must be an open debate about the success and failures of the police’s tactics.

I detect from Sir Hugh Orde, the President of Chief Police Officers, and our own Chief Constable, a view that any critical comment about the police’s tactics is unwelcome and indicates a lack of support for the police.

This is unhealthy and discussion must not be stifled. In fact, the repression of discussion will almost certainly give greater momentum to the case for elected police commissioners.  

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128 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Chris-afortunadoAugust 12th 2011.

Douchebag.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

The police failed Manchester? They were being were being praised last night by the Question Time Panel for their effectiveness.

FurFoxAcheAugust 12th 2011.

I can't believe Stringer keeps getting elected. What an idiot. GMP did an amazing job this week.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandyAugust 17th 2011.

absolutely

Steffigirl2kAugust 12th 2011.

I saw plenty of police action on Wednesday and I thought they were brilliant.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandyAugust 17th 2011.

they were, and they were held by becayse the govenment didnt want to get their habds dirty

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Graham Stringer, another MP with a gift for self promotion at the expense of others.

My daughter works in Deansgate and her store was warned 6 times by the Police to close and REFUSED to do so until after 6pm by which time, the rioters were breaking down the staff entrance, threatening those left inside. The Police were left not able to attack the rioters for fear of getting innocent workers as they left their workplaces. Some of these stores are now blaming the Police for not stopping the rioters yet the stores (mainly the plc brands) were happy to hang their staff out to dry, trying to milk every last penny before letting their own employees get out of the riot zone. How about tackling the greed of the plcs Graham?

MP's condemned the Police for being too aggressive during the G20 and student riots. Now you're blaming them for being too soft.

With MP's it's always someone else to blame. If you are so supportive of the Police then push in Parliament to get them up to date equipment and a judicial system that incarcerates the scum for as long as it takes to let decent people enjoy the fruit of their hard work, without fear of the criminals getting out early.

MP's have an answer for everything and a solution for nothing! Get a grip Graham! Support the police, imprison the scum, tackle the greed of the banks and the plcs and help ordinary working folk to get this beautiful country of ours out of the economic doldrums and back working for growth and prosperity, for those prepared to work for it!!!

5 Responses: Reply To This...
MillsAugust 12th 2011.

right on!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Indeed!!

Reader XxxAugust 12th 2011.

Peter
Well said. Your comments have a claging ring of truth

Emma CusickAugust 13th 2011.

Couldn't have said it better myself.x

JoAugust 13th 2011.

I work near there (Deansgate) and my boss made people work on Tuesday night until someone went over his head and sent employees home at 7pm. They had to get a lift home (through Salford) at speed. It is people like my boss and your daughter's that should be hung out to dry for putting their employees lives in danger not the police who did their utmost in a highly co-ordinated and sinisterly organised situation. We were warned at work just after lunch on Tuesday and had to move objects away from the windows etc, and still our boss ignored it. Disgusting.

MillsAugust 12th 2011.

Stringer is a loser. Police did a great job considering the feral scum they were dealing with.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandyAugust 17th 2011.

here here

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Stringer doesn't want to deal with the fact the government didn't empower the police to be able to deal with effectively sooner. The police offers on the streets of Manchester and Salford did a stirling job over the last few days. I think the focus should be towards those restricting what the police officers on the streets can and can't do - both senoir government officals and well as the senior officers in the Police force - they are paid to be in positions of great responsibilty but seem scared to make the decisions they are paid to make - if they haven't got the balls to make the decisions then they shouldn't be in positions of power.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandyAugust 17th 2011.

bring it on

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

I think the yobs of Manchester let the city down not the police!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Idiot. Self- promoting idiot.
Stop trying to score political points and support your police force.

Jeremy SmithAugust 12th 2011.

It's a no win situation for the Police on matters like this. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Personally thought they did a great job unlike this clown who is clearly out for a bit of thoughtless self promotion. Shall we give the GMP a night off, they deserve it & I'm sure Stringer and pals can handle any trouble !

I'm off out to eat, drink and enjoy our great city, might even BUY a pair of trainers on Sunday !

Chris-afortunadoAugust 12th 2011.

Is this turning into the second time in quick succession you should have just kept your mouth shut? Not getting much support are you? You've picked your target very unwisely. Oh, and.... douchebag.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Didn't Stringer make his first critical comments on Tuesday evening saying at the same time that he hadn't been into the centre of Manchester? Says it all really.

Councillor Kevin PeelAugust 12th 2011.

This makes me really angry. As a councillor for the city centre and a city centre resident, I was out on the ground on Tuesday night. Graham Stringer was not. I can tell you that the place did a damn fine job in very difficult circumstances and we should be supporting them, not criticising them. Especially people with no firsthand knowledge of what was actually going on out there.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

well done to you Cll Peel at least you weren't in the comfort of your house and pretending you were out there like this MP

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

So because he doesn't live in the Northern Quarter he's not allowed to make a comment then? I guess you never comment on issues outside of the city centre? We can all praise the police and many of us have. That doesn't mean there is nothing to learn from what happened. I'm sure GMP will be looking at what they could do better in the future, I wouldn't expect anything less from a police force such as GMP.

Councillor Kevin PeelAugust 12th 2011.

"...*police did a damn fine job" ...

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Surprised by the reaction here. The police can't have it both ways: either they were unprepared, or they planned to let those shops get destroyed. They clearly have questions to answer: how exactly did a shop on the main shopping street get set on fire when everybody knew for *hours* it was all going to kick off? How did jewellers get completely emptied?

They certainly don't need extra powers to arrest people breaking into shops, or setting them on fire.

You don't have to choose between unequivocal support of the police and support of the criminals and scum kids. It's possible to be critical of how badly Manchester was hit, and still deplore the actions of those who did it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JoAugust 13th 2011.

They were definitely taken by surprise by the extent of the organisation of the looting. It was almost with military precision - spread out, divide and conquer. It's actually shocking the extent that the orchestraters of the looting were able to mobilise people and manouvre them to where they needed them around the city - moving them on when shops were exhausted to the next target. The police just did not have the resources to cover all the bases with it kicking off in Salford as well.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

The police are either criticised for being too heavy handed, or not doing enough. They can't win. Bet Stringer didn't work for 48 hours and more in a row, give up his holidays and put himself in harm's way to protect our cities.

Margaret LittlewoodAugust 12th 2011.

he should not be criticising the police,they did the best they could under difficult circumstances,he is a has been/never was anyway

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

a point of note, it says stringer is writing exclusively for Man Con, not exclusively too Man Con... Does this mean you support him?

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

wtf - Can't praise the police enough for what they did........... it was the little scumbags running amok and looting who let Manchester down, not GMP! Well done and a big thank you to the boys and girls in blue for all their efforts

Dave MartinAugust 12th 2011.

They should put people like this on the front line next time, with bricks and bottles of piss raining down on them

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

I can't even be bothered to read this article because the context enraged me. The GMP did a fantastic job, under the circumstances, and deserve full praise.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

All of you saying the GMP did a perfect job: you're saying that if this happens again, you'd be totally happy with all these shops getting looted again. Are you sure about that?

The police are a professional organisation, and no doubt do their best. They obviously have the country's support over these riots. That's not the same thing as saying they acted perfectly, and it's not a crime to say they might not have. Jeez.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Dave MartinAugust 12th 2011.

He said "failed", not "could have done better"

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

He just can't help himself can he? Can't let a chance go by to have a dig at the police. Is he really suggesting that every Chief Constable in the land should have told London to get lost because they were keeping their officers back "just in case" their city had their own problems. Everyone, it seems apart from Stringer, has been taken by surprise by the viral nature of the crime wave. If he's so blessed with a gift of seeing the future it's a shame he didn't seem fit to come forward last week and tell everyone what was about to happen!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Stringer's the sort of cretin who would allow the police to use water cannon as long as they promised the water used was warm ....

Ashley ByrneAugust 12th 2011.

Yeah I can't believe the abuse on here. Whatever your view, graham stringer has a right to his opinion. We live in a democracy after all. At least disagree in a civilised way. Or is it now a crime to have an opinion which doesn't suit the prevailing wind.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

don't be niaive!!

Mr JohnAugust 12th 2011.

He should keep his mouth shut. But he does raise one valid point. Why did we send 100 Officers to London but more importantly why was this broadcasted to all? the clear message this gave out is we are understaffed. The police did an amazing job, but I feel they were badly let down by being short of manpower and having there numbers broadcasted

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

I agree with many of these points and personally I think the balance was wrong- there weren't enough interventions to stop the criminality.

I do however think this was due to many of our police being in London rather than a policy issue.

The problem is, criticism or not, without intervening more robustly (and 15 arrests is telling) there is basically nothing to prevent this from occurring again.

However no matter what I think about how it was managed, I have ultimate respect for the Police- I had no desire to be out on Tuesday neither for money nor 'new' trainers!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

why can the police not have the power to stop people entering the city center and demand they go back from where they came!What about a 10pm curfew on under 14 in the city center?

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

stringer is a hypocrite, trying score political point. I know what i am talking about he is my MP and I can tell you he doesn't care about his constituents. check his voting records on the parliament ( such a flipfloper)
The police did what they could do with their limited means.
Kudos to the police.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

plz vote him outtttttttttttt

Reader XxxAugust 12th 2011.

Peter
Stringer and that self serving little witch, Hazel Blears should resign. GMP did a superb job in unprecented circumstances, and looking at the court reports, they are still doing so.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

I do not agree, neither of these should resign, they should both be sacked. I am still amazed that the people of Salford re-elected Blears

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

i understand the sentiment that it may feel awkward to criticise the police at this time and i also support the police for their courage wholeheartedly. however, how can anyone honestly believe that they did a fantastic job when all 4 corners of our city clearly got completely and utterly trashed? if that was the case, then what exactly do some people consider the place would have to look like in order for it to have been considered a bad job?

largely standing around watching these idiots vandalising, looting and setting fire to buildings whilst being hopelessly unprepared and overwhelmed by the situation and then maybe catching around 5-10% of them, of which some might go to jail for a few weeks or so, is not a policing success story in my opinion. whether or not the police numbers are to be reduced (which was obviously a diabolical decision by the government when they are simultaneously making such huge cutbacks on spending in all other departments), they should definitely be given whatever tools and government support they need in order to prevent this horrendous and repulsive situation from happening again. if this type of thing is to ever be prevented from escalating again in the future, then we simply have to show a very clear message that these scum will NEVER be allowed to win.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Anne-Marie JaggerAugust 12th 2011.

There have been massive FRONT LINE cuts, this is the consequence of these actions, police can not be blamed for negligent parents who should have been aware of where their kids are.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Please can you define your definition of 'all 4 corners of our city clearly got completely and utterly trashed'? That's just not true.

JedsterAugust 12th 2011.

The police force exists in order to protect people and their properties. On Tuesday night, for whatever reasons, they largely failed in those duties. I believe that it is right to highlight the fact that, unfortunately, the service was wholly inadequate on this occasion and that the reasons for this (whether they were poor planning, poor judgement of the situation, or simply insufficient police funding) will need to be investigated. And to spell it out to anonymous who clearly hasn't been in Manchester this week, all areas from Deansgate to Exchange Square, and Oxford Road to the Northern Quarter were very visibly trashed.

JoAugust 13th 2011.

Only 22% of the looters were under 18, very few indeed will have been under 16... The oldest so far is a 58 year old woman. The demographic is diverse. It was a shopaholics riot.

nevereatenacremeeggAugust 12th 2011.

Her, your colleague...Hazel Blears...I suppose you don't think it had such a 'devastating effect on public confidence' when she was 'looting' the general public with her expenses forms then...

Anne-Marie JaggerAugust 12th 2011.

Its easy to blame the police when its the thugs of his constituency that are causing the problems, maybe he should have spoken up a bit more when the discussion came around in parliament for the cuts in police funding rather than singing the tune the majority of his constituents, being the police are at fault. The problem of this country is that everyone is piping on about their rights what about their RESPONSIBILITIES!!!!! If people want to commit crime, remember that you need to take responsibility for your actions!!!
Mr Stringer GROW UP!!!!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Mr Stringer, how dare you make those comments about our police. They were dealing with unpredictable gangs of unpredictable feral yobs (I prefer to call them scum). These people were created by politicians who didnt ever listen and just carried on handing out benefits and flats to 'girls' who didnt fancy going to work so just produced babies. These babies have grown up know - and theyve brought each other up (hence the feral rules). Leave the police alone and busy yourself stopping the funding of yet another feral generation!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Firstly, London undeniably got the brunt of these riots and NEEDED more police. Secondly, the police in Manchester did brilliantly. Of all the people to blame, the police are certainly not the ones to choose. Hazel Blears did fail her constituency when she claimed a £913 tv on expenses.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

ManCon, this man seems to get quite a lot of space on your site. Is it time to seek another, less publicity-seeking MP for some opinions?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 14th 2011.

Anon, Graham Stringer writes thoughtful and interesting pieces which usually transcend party politics. We're keeping him as a correspondent.

James SpencerAugust 12th 2011.

Mr Stringer has long since left Albert Square. But Mr Stringer says he had concerns before the events. Did he share these with Steve Heywood, The Divisional Command for North Manchester which includes the Crumpsall AND theCity Centre. Did anyone else share evidence for their concerns?

Prevention is better than cure so where is the plan for dealing in what happens in these situations. I asked MMCs coordinator of Crime and Disorder. I await a reply There is a plan for a chemical plant blowing up, a bomb and maybe even public disorder. But apparently not for the sort of looting seen this week.

But then how far do commercial premises have a plan for this sort of attack on them individually, and do large residential blocks have one? They are unusual but not impossible. My enquiries suggest they are lacking in anticipating risks other than fire. Next to me two businesses have 'historic' outer doors and in one case historic window grills. 130 year ago people know what to expect. Now they don't (the doors a grade II two protected thank goodness)

Where intelligence exists as Stringer suggests, I am in favour of advising people to go home and stay away. Businesses have a responsibility to their staff too.

The given this, the Police on the street did well in the circumstances. The leadership admit they did not expect what actually happened or read the situation as it developed.

But they do not FIGHT battles FOR US. They seek to control and limit disorder. As far as I can see no one was seriously hurt in Manchester and Stringer exaggerates the damage overall.

Of course it is a different matter in Salford..... fires, attacks on rescue services, proportionately great losses an damage and allegations about a serious level of organisation. All of those things have take place there on and off before to a greater or lesser extent.

But unless we learn some lessons it will all happen again sooner rather than later.

MaggieAugust 12th 2011.

test

John WilliamsAugust 12th 2011.

No, Graham Stringer - your statement here is not one of fact it is one of opinion.
No, Graham Stringer - it was the right decision to send support to the people of London
No, Graham Stringer - GMP did not fail to do their job.
Yes, Graham Stringer - we all, including GMP and you and your colleagues in Westminster, need to learn from Tuesday nights events but through debate not the wholly negative confrontational way you choose to do it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JedsterAugust 13th 2011.

John, it was not right whatsoever to send police from a city at known risk to London. They should have clearly been sent from elsewhere in the UK.

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 12th 2011.

I was out all evening on Tuesday and the Police lost control. I never personally saw more than forty-sixty officers together. I was on streets where there was no law and order simply threat. But I never saw more than seventy or eighty rioters together either except in Piccadilly Gardens. My conclusion is this, a conclusion I witnessed, we were caught out. I was there let me say that again.

There was no doubt that officers showed bravery but there is also no doubt that the planning higher up the ranks was weak.

And Kevin stop playing the politician. Were you there on Wednesday night? Wednesday worked, the police were everywhere. That was the way to control the situation - and after Tottenham wasn't Tuesday predictable? The policing on Wednesday deterred any repeat.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JoAugust 13th 2011.

Wednesday worked because of the rain. Not because of the policing, unfortunately.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

Smacks of self promotion, any publicity is good publicity and all that - isn't this the MP that said that dyslexia was fake and made up by crap teachers?

ChloeAugust 12th 2011.

Graham Stringer is a contrarian. He will go against anything that will garner him face time.

GMP did a fantastic job, irrespective of how many arrests they made on the night. The fact of the matter is they worked flat out to eventually and rather rapidly in my humble opinion to identify the feral scum that descended on our City. It is their intent observations and statements that helped to secure the sentences magistrates have issued. I hold our police force in high esteem following the riots. It must have been extremely difficult, frustrating and gut-wrenching to watch the City being subjected to such criminality and abuse because their powers were limited, but they have more than put in the hours to help get this City back on its feet and make the citizens feel safe. I commend GMP, the magistrates and the media who have named and shamed the scum who wrongly thought they are untouchable.

Go back to your ivory tower Stringer because you can't string two factual words together let alone a statement.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

The guy may have a semblance of a point. Why were the GMP protecting big chains and leaving Northern Quarter, particularly Oldham Street, as a free for all for so long?. One van down the road would of sent many of those "hanger on" kids running.

Organised gang members were free to run the show there for a very long time - left untouched.

Many small businesses were left unprotected, playing right into the hands of dodgy "security" services (some run by gang members) looking to make future inroads and increase their business.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Anne-Marie JaggerAugust 12th 2011.

with the ridiculous cuts to front line resources what can be expected, perhaps instead of criticism we need to think why they didnt have the resources to cover the whole city, the majority of rioters would have been in the city centre looting not in the northern quater robbing Aldi

JoAugust 13th 2011.

I am sort of with you Anon. I've seen the vids of Oldham St - absolutely shocking. But like you said organised gangs were running the show and they appear to have known what they were doing splitting limited police resources. Makes the imminent cuts now an incredible worry.

Anne-Marie Jagger shared this on Facebook on August 12th 2011.
AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

Suggest you look at the footage again - there were hundreds up at the Northern Quarter earlier in the evening. Many of whom later appear in film elsewhere. All left to do as they pleased. Makes horrific viewing.

The message appears to be small businesses don't matter.

Hero
John NuttallAugust 13th 2011.

I was in the city centre on Tuesday night and witnessed a full scale attack on The Avenue shopping district by a pack of scallies well in excess of a hundred without any sight of a police officer. Fact, not opinion.

I walked up to Picadilly Station through crowds of looters again with no sign of any police prescence until the station itself.

There were a few police turning people back from Picadilly Gardens but none guarding the businesses on Oldham Street where they had pushed the gangs of scallies.

In circumstances like this the police do a difficult and dangerous job but Graham Stringer is right, this couldn't remotely be described as anything other than a failure, it was sheer anarchy.

As for GMP officers being deployed to London while Manchester burned, what did you expect? The London based power structure don't give a flying fuck about what they contemptously describe as "the provinces", look how they scream at any attempt to move public sector organisations out of London.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2011.

I was 'on the ground' on Tuesday night, following these hooligans from street to street as they systematically trashed stores, not necessarily to loot but just for the sheer hell of it & they met with NO resistance. Every time they'd finished with a street & moved on the police arrived maybe 5 minutes later. It was like they were watching on CCTV & waiting to move in so as not to physically have to confront any of these vandals. Then they would use riot police, horses & dogs to cut off an empty already looted & trashed street but by that time another 2 streets had been done. It was a wholly nonsensical approach. Why not round them up, ship them off & take them out of the equation, there were certainly enough vans! The most frightening part was when they were running amock along Deansgate, traffic was still flowing & innocent drivers got caught up in it. They had their car windows punched & smashed or in the panic they drove into each other but were too scared to stop & exchange details. You cannot move more than 3 paces in the City centre without being picked up on CCTV so was somebody sitting watching this & ignoring it? Why was there no protection for these innocent people I would like to know. I was as disgusted with the lack of authority the police showed as I was with these hooligans & when the Force came out the next day & said how effective they'd been I had to laugh! All the pictures shown in the news of them enforcing the line were totally misrepresentative as these were taken long AFTER the damage had been done.

True MancunianAugust 13th 2011.

I guess lots of police officers have had time to post 'annonymous' comments on here supporting themselves.

It was entirely predictable and, as someone who was stuck on a tram full of terrified people between Piccadilly Gardens and Market St, I can tell you - FACT - that the police did get their tactics wrong; they were standing back watching shops being smashed up and looted and allowed the criminals to walk away with their spoils. Instead of stopping and/or arresting them at the time they subsequently deplolyed up to 18 (yes 18) officers in full riot gear to bash doors down to arrest one person at a time (this was on national television). What a joke.

Kevin Peel is a nobody who, unlike Graham Stringer, has never achieved anything or done anything for the City and its residents. He's the moron who thought the congestion charge was a brilliant idea that everyone should and would support so......hardly in touch with real Mancunians' views. Here's a tip for him - get over the fact that you were wrong and Graham was right on the congestion charge and have a word with your Labour colleagues on the Council who were there on Tuesday night, who actually confronted the police and asked why they were standing in a line watching thugs and criminals smash their way into shops, help themselves to whatever they fancied and walked away unchallenged. This is another FACT in the article.

And one last FACT - several of those teenage criminals were broadcast on national radio throughout the day on Wednesday, proudly boasting about what they'd done and the fact that the police had only arrested "about 10 people" so they knew they could get away with it and would "keep doing it every day". It made me ashamed to be a Mancunian but the FACT that a BBC radio journalist was able to watch these teenagers in action and that they had no qualms about standing on the street with the stolen goods crowing about it to him for several minutes afterwards while the police looked on says it all.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
JedsterAugust 13th 2011.

i largely agree with you, apart from the 'FACT' that we turkey-like and gleefully rejected the c-charge which would have brought a much needed £3 billion worth of investment and 10,000 jobs into the Manchester area for the sake of 10% of (mostly) outsiders paying a few quid a time at their own choice. a short-sighted and hollow victory indeed.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2011.

I fully agree with everythin you said! One of the most shocking parts of the night was the looters shouting orders & sizes & colours to each other as they picked their way through the stores & then casually strolling around with their acquired goods posing for each other, onlookers & the press who were around. They weren't fearful of any consequences, they were brazen & thats what frightened me most.

Vivian SinAugust 13th 2011.

So what was Stringer doing on that night then? Quivering under his duvets I suppose... what a ****! GMP have done nothing but help and control the situation, and are still continuing to find criminals at their home addresses, I don't suppose he's doing much to catch those thugs and thieves!

HBiffAugust 13th 2011.

I was horrified at the state of the Britannia Hotel in Piccadilly after the riots on Tuesday. It was exactly the same as it was before the riots but, still, it was horrible.

True MancunianAugust 13th 2011.

Jedster - nobody can argue with the FACT that the 'no' to congestion charge vote averaged about 80% across Greater Manchester on a higher turnout than general and local elections - these people are not 'outsiders', they are the people who would have to pay but were not stupid enough to believe there was no alternative. So, let's hope the 'Plan B' that never was which is now being implemented in full will bring the promised 10,000 new jobs.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

not fit to use the word mancunian - are you stringer in disguise

Phil BurkeAugust 13th 2011.

Firstly can I show our absolute full support and admiration for GMP, who had anunbelievably difficult and impossible situation to deal with. Thugs, idiots and
mindless morons like these deserve to treated in the manner that they have chosen to treat our premises, properties and the law abiding citizens of our
city.

And it is a credit to the police that they are unfortunately not only faced with dealing with these idiots, but they also have to deal with the sandal
wearing human rights lawyers looking over their shoulders criticising their
every move.

What about the human rights of the businesses trashed ? Its Clear Graham Stringer was clearly out of touch and was not in the city centre on tuesday night like we were and who were caught in the middle of around 200 or more thugs trying to protect our businesses with help from officers from wales , Lancashire , Merseyside and GMP .

The police deserve our full support, help and encouragement in their handling of this dreadful and atrocious situation.

Maybe its time for Graham Stringer to step down as MP??

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ashley ByrneAugust 15th 2011.

Oh come on Phil. We live in a democracy and he is entitled to his opinion. Really angers me that people can't accept a difference of opinion.

Simon TurnerAugust 13th 2011.

Phil Burke - have you evidence that human rights lawyers wear sandals? Funny guy.

Graham Stringer never said he doesn't support the police. Graham Stringer has never said he doesn't admire our police force and individual police officers.

Graham Stringer says that perhaps sending 100 police officers and several GMP vans down to London wasn't the brightest strategy given the rising rumours that riots would hit our city. As the quelling of the London riots showed; increasing police numbers had a deterrent effect. We didn't have the numbers or the manpower.

There's a lot of evidence gangs of looters were given free rein of the city, often looting the same shop for an hour or two unhindered. With more police on the streets might that have been avoided.

There's also evidence that police officers weren't intervening - especially in Salford, for fear of becoming the targets of the rioters.

Perhaps GMP were a little complacent and maybe they got their strategy wrong? If you ask a fair question like that it doesn't mean you are pro-looter or anti-police.

True MancunianAugust 13th 2011.

Graham Stringer's article contains facts and opinions, which he is entitled to express. Why should he step down? What a ludicrous suggestion.

In my opinion the police 'stand back' tactics were a cynical ploy to warn the coalition government not to implement the planned cuts. Indeed, Hugh Orde and several chief constables have since sounded that warning publically. Have those defending the police missed the countless people on television standing in the rubble of the businesses they've worked hard to build up, some for 20 years or for several generations in the same family, telling the world that the police stood there and let it happen - in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Questions do need to be answered, particularly why the tactics that so obviously failed in London on Saturday and Sunday were then deployed for the inevitable attack on Manchester two/three days later.

'Plan B' is the delivery of the full Metrolink network that the public was told would never happen without the congestion charge. Less than three years later, the Chorlton extension is open, sections of the Oldham and Rochdale lines will open later this/early next year and the Airport line is under construction.........

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ashley ByrneAugust 15th 2011.

True mancunian. You raise some very interesting questions.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

You only have to look at the Met where it all stems from and therein lies the problem! Morally corrupt to the core. "The Police" is alsoset up as a "plc" lets not forget that too (look it up on Dunn and Bradstreet) says it all. The police are there to uphold the law end of. They failed largely from where i was sitting most of it appeared to be self defence althought i cant blame them entirely weak leadership i agree and ill equipped and ill manned - i shouldnt have been watching scenes of devastation on TV and watching it ripple out to Manchester no certainly not. The city has been waiting to erupt for a while now, you walk down Market Street and see endless droves of chavscum every day stuffing their faces with pasties and sporting their nikes and iphones no jobs too! Water cannons should have been filled with red dye at 2pm and at the ready once word had got round. Funny how the council workers went home early too! What disgusts me the most is that we havent heard a word from our "leader" Richard Leese and not that much from Peter Fahy GMP Chief or Moston councillor Paul Murphy chair of the GMPA maybe they were all living it up on a villa somewhere off the Amalfi coast giving each other a massage......hopeless. Vote of confidence for our leaders NO!

AnonymousAugust 13th 2011.

Oh and can we have more tory and libdem and green viewpoints here too sick of hearing from this labour lot, theyve hardly made our country safe over the past 14 years have they? Thanks to Cheshire Cat and letterbox mouth we know have many more undesirables from other countries now to worry about scrapping of the married couples allowance, a ban on smacking your own child!!! (major issue), human rights fiascos everywhere, no wonder this country is a free for all, thanks NU Labour......How on earth John Prescott became a Lord is just worrying, thug in a suit.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2011.

Yes damage was done, the police were not everywhere doing everything they could but let's not confuse them with superheroes, the league of extraordinary gentlemen perhaps?! I believe the police were wherever they could be doing whatever they could do, maybe it wasn't enough but I don't think that's their fault is it. Do you honestly think they could have prevented it?! We underestimate the evil that people are capable of, whatever the 'rumours' nobody could have predicted the sheer scale of this violence. With that in mind, why would we not send officers to London, if a house up the road from you was set upon by thugs would you offer help or is it each to their own? Is it us and them? Probably why these people are so compelled to commit these crimes in the first place. As for the legends that were 'out there' in the thick of it, my only question is, why on earth were you? It's one of three options, either you were taking down criminals and preventing the damage, you were standing by and watching it happen, getting in the way and putting yourself at risk, or you were looting! If it happens again maybe it will be handled better, maybe our police force isn't enough, let's just hope it never does but whatever went on, no officer had is feet up on a desk with a brew in one hand saying 'gosh, it's looking lively out there'. They did what they could, we can't ask for more. Oh, and it is worrying that Stringer is so out of touch with the majority that he would publish such an ill-conceived article, you really have to question his motives.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 14th 2011.

Anonymous, Graham Stringer didn't publish the article, he wrote it. As a Member of Parliament AND the last council leader before Sir Richard Leese his article carries potency and raises questions that need to answered.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2011.

Sorry my mistake, what I meant was that he would write such an article for publication seems as though he is attempting to light an unecessary fire, saying that GMP failed us is a statement, not a question. And I think we all know that being a member of parliament does not automatically give a person potency! I will apologise for anything out of line but I have read comments far more personal than mine. I am just saddened that you would focus on what was not done and offer no commendation for what was

Hero
John NuttallAugust 15th 2011.

Actually Anonymous, as one of the "legends" who were out there in the thick of it, I can tell you that there is a fourth option as to why someone was there - like me they might well have been going home.

True MancunianAugust 14th 2011.

The point is that he isn't 'out of touch' with the majority, quite the reverse as was exactly the case with the congestion charge, which many a blogger slated him for (before the vote). A small minority of people use these blogs - they are not representative of the majority. As someone who got caught up in it for no other reason than trying to get home after a day's work I can say from first hand experience, from every person featured on television and radio who witnessed events across the country and from every single person I've spoken to who has an opinion on it that the vast majority believe the police tactics were wrong. Given this, I would question the motives of the people on here making personal attacks against an MP who's simply doing his job and think they're police officers, family/friends of police officers or supporters of other political parties.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2011.

I'm not sure what you think the MPs job is, you question peoples personal attacks on his opinions but he himself has launched a very personal attack on GMP and I would love to think our MPs have better things to do, perhaps offering some support? I'm just not sure where we think we're going to get by criticising the people who I think did try their best to do their job whether the tactics were wrong or not. This violence was unprecedented, perhaps now we have seen what can happen it would be dealt with more effectively in the future. I'm sure the police have learned a lot from this, clearly they were taken aback, we all were and they are human just like the rest of us. I am not in the police/friend of police but I do not understand the point here anyway as the views of such people are no less valid and perhaps even better placed with their actual insight into what it was like for the officers. I understand that you have spoken to people share the view that police failed but I on the other hand have spoken to people who are of the opposite opinion and, admittedly as very tiny representation, the majority of readers here are in support of the police, I also saw some great interviews on sky news from mancs In the city centre who had nothing bit praise for the police and I remember thinking they must so appreciate and need that support considering what they were trying to deal with. I concede that short of an official public poll there is no way of saying for sure which is the majority? I also admit that my comment regarding people out in the city was silly, I am aware that people were stuck through no fault of their own, indeed I have friends who were and coincidentally they have commended the police for their efforts in what was an unbelievable and terrifying ordeal.

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 14th 2011.

Folks just a reminder. Disagree with someone and argue a case but please refrain from personal comments. Graham Stringer's thoughts on police strategy are not of a personal nature but are about a service which belongs to us all. Personal comments about individuals devalues the whole point of these debates/rants and makes fools of those who utter them.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ashley ByrneAugust 15th 2011.

Agreed!

Simon TurnerAugust 14th 2011.

Too many comments from people who are confusing anxieties and opinions expressed about police tactics and police numbers on riot night with being anti-police.

There's no shame in wondering why GMP sent police and vans to London just hours before the riot broke out, inevitably depleting numbers (Merseyside Police refused the same request from Met Police and disorder in Liverpool didn't spread to their city centre).

Phil Burke in particular, as a representative of business owners, should perhaps reconsider posting suggestions asking an MP who questions why the businesses in the city suffered such a trashing to stand down.

Liz HartleyAugust 14th 2011.

I live in the city centre and in fact on one of the roads where the riots took place from 7pm until 2am. I cannot praise the Police enough - they made me feel as safe as could be in a difficult situation. Lets not forget the people at fault here are the thugs who came into Manchester specifically to cause crime and start trouble.
Noone - no matter what happened in London would have ever imagined the situation in Manchester - I think that some politicians feel happy to use this situation to distract us from the mess they are currently making of the country. Leave the GMP alone.

True MancunianAugust 14th 2011.

It was entirely predictable, particularly after the 'copy cat' riots in Birmingham and Liverpool on Monday. A friend of mine was on Blackfriars St (Salford/Manchester boundary near the Renault showroom on Trinity Way ring road) at about 5.15 pm on Tuesday when a gang of about 70 young (predominantly) men strutted down the middle of the road towards the city centre - my friend said he, and others were scared stiff and there wasn't a police officer in sight, yet these thugs were clearly heading towards the centre of Manchester hell bent on trouble and, one would asume, given the location, had come from the Salford area where there had been trouble earlier (when the police also stood back). A member of my family also got caught up in it on her way home from work and had to take refuge in a pub on Cross St when faced with a gang of rampaging thugs, again not a police officer in sight and she was very traumatised. Another family member was cowering, with colleagues, under the counter in the shop she works at on Deansgate, when the windows went in. Police - nowhere to be seen.

The Met had acknowledged on Monday that, in treating it as a 'public order' issue they had got their tactics wrong so the question remains as to why GMP, knowing that, employed the same approach?

Posters on here have questioned where Mr Stringer was when it happened, saying bet he was cowering under his duvet etc. What he was doing is irrelevant. He's not a police officer; his job is to hold public services to account on behalf of his constituents because 'joe public' - as anyone who's ever tried to deal with bureaucracies will confirm - gets nowhere. That's (at least partly) why we have elected representatives.

Clearly, we can all relay a number of experiences on the night but quite apart from my personal experience and those of family/friends I have not seen or heard a single business person who was affected defend the way the police dealt with it in Manchester or elsewhere.

I am a law abiding person who supports the police but do feel we have to question why they got it so wrong in Manchester on Tuesday night.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ashley ByrneAugust 15th 2011.

Yes and in a democracy the police should never be beyond criticism. It's the slippery slope if it suddenly becomes a 'crime' to question them and their tactics.

user2830August 15th 2011.

EDITORIALLY REMOVED AS THIS WAS AN IRRATIONAL OUTBURST. AS STATED IN THE POST ABOVE: Folks just a reminder. Disagree with someone and argue a case but please refrain from personal comments. Graham Stringer's thoughts on police strategy are not of a personal nature but are about a service which belongs to us all. Personal comments about individuals devalues the whole point of these debates/rants and makes fools of those who utter them.

Jonathan Schofield-editor

AnonymousAugust 15th 2011.

My husband was one of those police officers you are complaining about.... how dare you complain about them... youget out there and defend us instead, whilst the "public" decide to take the law into their own hands by mugging. looting and destroying property , my husband and everyone else called in was risking their lives.. whilst we sat here at home watching the TV worrying to death that they would eb ok.. nt only are they at risk of loosing their jobs re cut backs, their pensions are up in the air... leave was cancelled arrangements had to be changed . but not one of them said NO>>>> How dare you

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandyAugust 17th 2011.

well said

IAMLEGENDAugust 15th 2011.

Anonymous I believe your husband volunteered for the police force and wasn't forced to sign up. He is police - leave was cancelled, of course it was. 'The public' you refer to in the city centre was about 1000 strong - there are 450,000 people in Manchester, 2.5m in Greater Manchester.

Simon TurnerAugust 15th 2011.

Anonymous ---- not one single person here has done anything other than offer complete support and admiration for individual police officers. Questions have been asked about strategy and leadership. It's the same with the army - people support and admire the heroes fighting in the British Army but that doesn't mean there isn't a debate about tactics, numbers, deployment etc.

Richard HJAugust 15th 2011.

It is a little worrying when a democratically elected politician is so very wide of the mark of public opinion. He is after all there to represent many of us in Parliament. This furthers meaningful debate about as much as those Mr Loophole columns in the MEN.

Reminds me of his marvelously well-informed 'think piece' on Dyslexia a couple of years back... ho hum.

Jonathan SchofieldAugust 15th 2011.

Why is he wide of the mark Richard? Do you think the police were strategically prepared for Tuesday?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Richard HJAugust 15th 2011.

I have no idea if his opinion is wide of the mark. He is however wide of the mark of public opinion (at least on ManCon). Two very different things.

But since you ask - I would say it's too early to make sweeping statements before any inquiry has been made.

Still, the window of opportunity for political grandstanding is rather small these days.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2011.

It’s ridiculous the only people to blame for last week’s events are those that are currently being arrested and those that have already been prosecuted (which by the way Mr Politician the police are still working on right now)

Let me comment on what he definitely wasn’t doing:

• he definitely wasn't in riot gear trying to stop them looting.
• he wasn't being threatened or had bricks thrown at him.
• He wasn’t on a 16 hour shift playing cat and mouse with the scum that destroyed the city
• Did anyone see him with a brush and a bin bag on the Wednesday clearing up the mess

Since Tuesday he definitely hasn't been working 16 hour days like our officers to keep the streets calm. He also hasn't put his life in further danger by conducting or taking part in any of the police warrants. he is definitely not one to thank for the order being re-stored in our streets. I think that the police did a fantastic job that night and have continued to do so since. Yes other tactics could have been used but would we really be praising them, or, would we be criticising them?. The real question has to be would any other tactics made much difference? In my mind the looters would have done it even if riot police would have been stationed at every shop throughout the city they were gunning for trouble and trouble they caused.

'I support the police but my side lost on Tuesday night'

well.....

I lost faith in politicians and the government a long time ago mate!

EDITORIAL COMMENT: TRADING INSULTS IS NOW BANNED. DISCUSSION PLEASE. Thus part of this rant was removed.

Jonathan SchofieldAugust 15th 2011.

When did we ever call ourselves impartial? And further to that. It's a bit stupid to say why is no-one allowed to criticise this MP on Confidential when your criticisms are there for all to see - in the rants. What I would ask is why do those people attacking him think that he's not allowed to criticise the police's strategy?

Simon TurnerAugust 15th 2011.

So are you saying because Stringer definitely wasn't in riot gear trying to stop them looting or being threatened or had bricks thrown at him he's not allowed an opinion on the police strategy? Were you???? Or, for that matter, were you democratically elected to represent the tens of thousands of people who live in his constituency?

"In my mind the looters would have done it even if riot police would have been stationed at every shop throughout the city" You sure?

Hero
John NuttallAugust 15th 2011.

As the looting was so well orchestrated by the criminal element and the police operation failed perhaps the solution is to replace the Chief Constable with Dominic Noonan

the Whalley RangerAugust 15th 2011.

Having returned from holiday and having watched with great interest from a distance, can anyone tell me WHY of all shops Ms Selfridges was torched (right at the start?)?

Torching doesn't help anyone wanting to nick stuff...that was clearly for show, doesn't anyone think?

Further oddities bothers my sun-soaked brain:

Which group had an interest to protect its position with cuts to their budget looming (1,000 cuts in Manchester/ 20,000 nationwide)?

Which group held back until the rage was full on, even though a few days earlier things had clearly gone wrong in some parts of London?

Which group will benefit greatly from cries of the public to 'crack down', 'get though' etc.

Which group had therefore NO INTEREST AT ALL to prevent the actions witnessed?
.
.
.
.
You guessed it: the police.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Chris-afortunadoAugust 16th 2011.

Hmmm... yeah... you're right. Come to think of it - maybe the police orchestrated the whole thing! *cough*

the Whalley RangerAugust 16th 2011.

Chris - now you are being silly...

all I am saying is that this country is ruled by a boys club, there are 'vested interests'.

Have you not followed the hacking scandal?

LindaAugust 16th 2011.

this man should keep quiet...and stop publicity seeking...the police have a very difficult and dangerous job to do, and not always with adequate equipment... no body wants to hear people like him spouting off...perhaps he should go and help some of the shop owners whose businesses have been ruined and offer support instead of glory seeking

Walter JacksonAugust 24th 2011.

after escorting 6 young ladies out of miss selfridges and securing the premises before the moron set fire to it,
i went to piccadilly to see first hand what was happening
where i went and chatted with coun karney and a reporter.
myself and pat (were on first names now)watched what was happening,and i dont recall graham seeing you there,on holiday was we.
i remember you years ago graham when you could be seen around the streets of manchester,if your coming from the broughton ward there is a good bus service and its only£2.10 single,which can be claimed back on your expencies.
one of the main complaints by the police that night was having equipment that was 14 years old.
now i dont want to start an argument but was it not you and yours that held the purse strings for 12 and half of them and yes they will prob wait 12 more.
so graham if you rearly want to know whats happening in parts of your city,speak to pat,or even myself i even live in your ward(ive seen wally more than ive seen you)
and we can have a nice cup of tea and a chat.

AnonymousAugust 24th 2011.

there is an interest in the UK to keep a dumbed down underclass. Now live with it!

PS: CCTV will not prevent it

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