TOPICS > World

As Riots Subside, U.K. Justice System Starts to Process Young Suspects

August 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
English cities were tense but calm Thursday as police established a forceful presence on the streets where rioters and looters had prevailed days before. Jane Deith of Independent Television News reports on efforts to arrest and process the accused rioters.
LISTEN SEE PODCASTS

TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: English cities were tense, but calm today, as police established a forceful presence on streets where rioters and looters prevailed days ago.

In a special meeting of Britain’s Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron again denounced the culture that produced criminals as young as 12 years old.

DAVID CAMERON, British prime minister: Responsibility for crime always lies with the criminal.

PARLIAMENT: Hear, hear!

DAVID CAMERON: These people were all volunteers. They didn’t have to do what they did. And they must suffer the consequences.

But crime has a context, and we must not shy away from it. I have said before that there is a major problem in our society with children growing up not knowing the difference between right and wrong. This is not about poverty. It is about culture, a culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and that says everything about rights, but nothing about responsibilities.

MARGARET WARNER: Within miles of Parliament, and elsewhere in England, police and courts were working overtime to arrest and process the accused rioters.

We have a report from Jane Deith of Independent Television News.

JANE DEITH: The boy in the red hood is 12, convicted of committing burglary during the riot. He left court with his mother. He was spotted running from a looted supermarket carrying a bottle of wine. Too young for jail, he was given a nine-month referral order.

Manchester magistrates court held a special overnight sitting to get through the army of children and adults charged over the rioting and looting in Manchester and Salford. Three judges sat in three courts from 9:00 p.m. last night right through the night, dealing swiftly and robustly with more than 100 defendants.

Jordan Kelly was jailed for six months after he was caught carrying a homemade balaclava and bin bag — the crime, being equipped for burglary.

This 14-year-old girl — in red — is accused of stealing a shop’s mannequin which had been dressed in designer jeans. She pleaded not guilty and will be put on trial later.

Nineteen-year-old Stefan Hoyle had never been in trouble before, but on the night of the riot, he stole a violin. His parents wept as he was put behind bars for four months.

David Cameron has promised tough justice. And the chief crown prosecutor for Manchester says his team is going to hit the rioters and looters hard.

NAZIR AFZAL, Crown Prosecution Service: Justice when it’s swift is most effective. It’s about ensuring that they see the shock and awe of the criminal justice system, because we represent society. We want to ensure that society is reflected in our courtrooms. And we want them to experience what they made us experience.

JANE DEITH: Police are plowing through hundreds more photographs and CCTV images of looters, but say they will catch up with them all.

MARGARET WARNER: Cameron said his government still planned to go ahead with proposed budget cuts for the police, despite complaints from the opposition and local officials.