Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, has responded on behalf of Her Majesty's Government to interim report from the Independent Riots Victims and Communities Panel.
"We welcome the interim report from the Independent Riots Victims and Communities Panel into the serious events of last summer and will be studying its findings carefully.
"The riots which took place in our towns and cities in August were shocking acts of criminality which ruined businesses, brought destruction to our streets, and made people feel unsafe in their own homes. But we also saw the law abiding majority reclaiming the streets by protecting friends and neighbours, and helping with the recovery.
"As the Prime Minister stated in the aftermath of these disturbances, it is vital that we fully understand and tackle the root causes and do what we can to prevent the scenes from being repeated. The interim report states that "there was no single cause of the riots and there is no single solution". Our response to the riots has been and continues to be wide-ranging. We are embarked on a programme of action to tackle entrenched problems like the most troubled families, educational attainment and many other fundamental issues which can give people a stake in society and prevent such disorder from happening again.
"The Riots Panel has given a voice to those directly affected. We hope this work will add to the understanding of the causes of the disorder, and we now look forward to the final report."
Government action already taken in response to the riots includes:
- In August 2011 the Deputy Prime Minister announced the establishment of an Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel, led by Darra Singh, to report on wider lessons from the August disorder: http://www.dpm.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/riot-communities-and-victims-panel-announced-0.
- Government's first priority was to provide the police and other agencies with the support and powers they needed to protect individuals, communities and businesses and to get local communities back on their feet.
- We have already announced we are extending gang injunctions to 14-17 year olds and rolling out by the end of the year.
- We have launched a consultation on police powers of curfew and the right to remove face coverings.
- The Home Secretary has asked Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Denis O'Connor, to review the police response and the lessons learned.
- The Home Secretary, with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has been leading a cross-government programme of action to tackle gangs and serious youth violence, a problem that blights too many of our streets and communities.
- The Home Secretary has been talking to police forces up and down the country as well as to local agencies, charities, youth organisations and others involved in front-line work to tackle youth violence, as well as hosting an international forum, and will present a report to Parliament shortly.
- The Government is introducing radical changes to ensure both effective punishment for criminals and introduce reform to break the cycle of offending. We are making our jails places of hard work, getting criminals off drugs and alcohol, toughening community sentences and making offenders pay back to victims and communities for their crimes.
- The Prime Minister announced on 15 August 2011 that the Government would be reviewing social policy in response to the disturbances.
- This review of social policies covers a number of Government departments and is looking at a range of issues regarding the 'broken society' - schools, family policy, parenting, communities, health and safety, cultural, legal, bureaucratic problems, services the Government provides and how they are delivered and the signals that Government sends about the kind of behaviours that are encouraged and rewarded.
- Central to this work is a commitment to turning around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families by 2015.
- Ministers have made it clear that tackling youth unemployment is a priority, with the growth in apprenticeships and work experience opportunities key to giving young people a head start in finding and keeping a job with a future.
- Private and voluntary sector organisations are investing £581m upfront in the biggest welfare to work programme this country has ever seen to provide tailored support built around the needs of individuals.
- We are addressing the educational underclass in areas let down for decades - by setting high standards for every child; making no excuses for failure; and fostering real pride in their schools. We are also driving up participation in education and training, so every young person has the skills to get into further study and employment - and to cut the chances of unemployment, poor health and a drift into crime. And intervening earlier to address poor parenting, support families with multiple problems and give opportunities to young people outside school - to overturn poor aspirations and attainment.