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‘Riots are fun’: Police expect more disorder across Manchester and UK due to budget cuts

By Dean Wilkins

The summer riots that tore apart Manchester and Salford last summer could happen again due to force budget cuts and worsening social and economic conditions, fear police.

A study into August’s disorder revealed officers caught up in the chaos which swept across the country thought they would die and that it could all happen again.

There were 130 officers from eight forces interviewed as part of The Reading the Riots research by London School of Economics, most of whom gave information anonymously.

One superintendent from Greater Manchester Police said he expected more riots within the year.

When if they could happen again, he said: “I think if you have bad economic times, hot weather, some sort of an event that sets it off then yes, it could.

“Because I don’t think anything has changed between now and last August, and the only thing that’s different is people have thought: riots are fun.”

Most of those interviewed said the events were the greatest physical and psychological challenge of their careers and staff of all ranks said it was astonishing that no officers were killed.

Forces across the country failed act on intelligence received via social media networks, which were rioters utilised in outmanoeuvring police.

The latest data comes as the police service faces widespread budget cuts.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said if further disorder happened, police would severely struggle to cope and the government should take urgent notice of the study.

He said: “This comprehensive analysis demonstrates what we have been telling the Government for two years now; that a 20% budget cut to policing will have a negative impact on public safety and that police numbers really do matter.

“Officers interviewed rightly identify and voice concern that, should the same circumstances occur again, the police service would struggle to cope and contain the situation with the loss of police officers numbers we are experiencing as a direct result of the cuts – over 5,000 last year alone.”

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