The total cost of the riots in London and other major British cities in August is expected to reach at least £133m in compensation and policing costs, the home affairs select committee has been told.
The unprecedented level of civil inner-city has been blamed by the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke on the “feral underclass”, which is a product of a “broken prison system”.
The London Metropolitan police told the committee that the policing bill for the riots in London amounted to £74m. The bill for the rest of the country is an estimated £50m. Manchester’s bill is expected to reach £10m, £5m for policing costs and £5m in compensation payments to those individuals whose property was damaged during the riots.
Compensation is payable to the victims of the riots under the 1886 Riots Damages Act (RDA). Under the RDA, people can make a claim for compensation within 14 days of the damage occurring. However, the Government has extended that period after the August riots to 42 days.
The cost of compensation for damage caused in London has already reached £9.3m as a result of 100 applications, the Metropolitan police authority has revealed.
In addition, the police told the committee that only 19% of the arrested rioters were affiliated with gangs, despite David Cameron previously asserting that much of the looting was organised by inner-city gangs.
Ken Clarke, in the Guardian on Monday 5 September, revealed that nearly 75% of the adults convicted of offences during the riots already had former convictions. 21% of those convicted were under the age of 18.
The Justice Secretary wrote that the 75% was a “legacy of a broken penal system” where prisoners do not learn anything during their time in prison and their punishment has no effect on their future actions once released.
He said the Government will be looking to reform the system in order to address these deficiencies, for example by making prisons centres of hard and productive activity, by tackling the serious issue of drugs in prisons, and by reforming the way rehabilitators are paid so that results are the key performance measurement, not compliance with red tape.
Boris Johnson has supported the Justice Secretary’s position, saying that those who have landed in jail as a result of participating in the rioting and looting in August should not be left to rot there; they need to be educated while in jail and helped to rebuild their lives when they are released.
Ken Clarke wrote in the Guardian that the social deficit within England must be tackled in addition to the financial one. He said the Government needs to fix its education, family and welfare policies in addition to the penal system.