I would like to add my comments, if I may, to those who have commented on the riots.In my opinion, they were not riots but organised burglaries and arson by criminals. We keep hearing the term ‘young person’ in relation to the thugs but if we look at the mug shots many were far from being youngsters, and most should have known better.I don’t think any attempt to evict the parents of children caught thieving will stand up in court; this is not only ‘double jeopardy’ but disproportionate since the parents have not been convicted of any crime, and in some cases have ‘turned-in’ errant children.The burglary, thieving and arson has nothing to do with people being poor as is amply demonstrated by some of those convicted. Poverty has never been, and never will be, an excuse for such criminal behaviour.
As for what was stolen: Mobile phones will either be useless or allow the thief to be tracked. All phones have an IMIE number which the retailers will be able to supply to police so every stolen phone can be identified. If somebody buys something they could reasonably expect to have been stolen then they have committed an offence. Many games machines need to log in to Sony or Microsoft – all these machines have unique ID numbers, as does software and games. The IDs of stolen games and software will be known to the companies and the police – log in and you are likely to get a knock at the door.Computers all have unique ID which can be interrogated when the machine is used on the internet. The ID of all stolen computers will be known to companies, and, again, is likely to be passed to Police. Any TV with Internet access or BBC IPlayer can, again, be traced.What can the thieves do with their booty. Put it on Ebay; maybe but the police will be monitoring that for sure.
In my area there are 100s of CCTV cameras and these could be used to back-track or follow burglars and arsonists to points where they remove their mask or get into cars. Many CCTV systems now have face recognition.One final thought. If there is a gang of 10, and one commits arson or another serious offence, under the Joint Enterprise Law they can all be charged with arson. Arson, carries a very long sentence and where it endangers life it is a Life Sentence.Hundreds of people will now have criminal records; they may not care now but when it comes to trying to get work, borrowing money or getting insurance they will suddenly find they do have something to regret.Finally, maybe prison is not the best approach for the more minor breaches. Strong Community Service, confiscation of property and the requirement to pay for damage and thefts might be a more constructive approach.