Riots and the future

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The violence and destruction of the London riots have sent waves of shock and anger through the country.

Looting has been widespread and blatant and it is clear criminals have been encouraging rioting in order to benefit themselves.

But it is undeniable that these events have taken place against a backdrop of rising unemployment, especially among the young, and the economic and social exclusion that causes.

In Sheffield, as I write, 10 people who specialise in working with unemployed youngsters - to get them into work and keep them out of trouble – face redundancy.

These are experienced youth workers who understand their clients and are trusted by them. They have a proud record of getting young people into jobs and from a life of addiction and crime.

Cutting youth services while cuts bite deep into our communities and unemployment soars is to abandon a generation of our young to fend for themselves.

UNISON continues to campaign for properly funded and staffed youth services to steer our young people from the appalling lawlessness and thuggery we have seen.

The city needs to urgently reconsider its services to young people. They are the future and we must make sure it is one we can look forward to.

Rod Padley, Sheffield UNISON Branch Secretary

Recent urban riots should come as no great surprise. The country has, for some time, harboured an underclass who have no respect for anything.

I have been visiting estates in my constituency for years at the request of frightened pensioners and ordinary families intimidated by packs of youths roaming like feral dogs, moreover with complete immunity.

It has been brought about by a Home Office with no interest in enforcing the law, a Crown Prosecution Service who seem only to prosecute householders who try to protect themselves and a police ‘service’ led by wishy-washy chief constables with sociology degrees and Common Purpose membership cards.

I have a file full of platitudes from senior officers who are ‘engaging with the local community’, ‘liaising with community leaders’, ‘building bridges’ and all the other clap trap that has manifested itself in this complete breakdown in law and order.

Yet only yesterday one of my staff saw police with speed guns hiding behind hedges at 8am in rural Yorkshire. Such deployment of officers under the current circumstances would be laughable if it wasn’t tragic.

Away then with our hopeless politically correct jobsworths at every level and put someone in charge with some back bone and leadership ability.

Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincs