Manchester City Council

The Only Place to Be

I had planned to spend a few days walking on the Solway Coast this week but as soon as a bunch of criminals started laying about our city there was only one place to be - back in Manchester. Although I was in regular contact with senior councillors and officers in the city, it's not the same as being here. Manchester won't take this lying down and won't let the actions of a small minority of greedy yobs cast a lasting shadow over our fantastic city.

Yesterday we saw the true spirit of Manchester when people came out in their hundreds, far more than caused the mayhem in the first place, to help clean up the city. It was a real demonstration of Manchester pride and sends a powerful message to the thugs that have tarnished our city's reputation.

The first priority is to make sure that the order now restored is maintained, and then to ensure that as many of those involved in this criminal behaviour are made to pay with interest for what they have done.The City Council is working fully with the police to achieve this. The number of arrests is going up hour-by-hour, and at the time of writing 147 people have arrested, 97 charged and eight are already behind bars. This is vital both to restore public confidence and to prevent any repetition of Tuesday night's appalling behaviour, and I am pleased that the courts will take tough action .

The police have put images online of the suspects which can be viewed at Flickr.  Every Mancunian has a duty to look at those images and act if they know any of these criminals. If you do, call the police on 0800 092 0410. You don't have to give your name.

Manchester City Council has long taken a tough line on crime and anti-social behaviour and we will use whatever powers we have to stop these criminals getting away with it. We have the power to evict people involved in anti-social behaviour and we are ready, willing and able to use that power. Anyone involved in these disturbances - or anyone who has allowed their children to be involved - needs to understand that we don't want you in our community.

It will be a difficult time for city centre businesses - a major source of employment for Manchester people and already suffering in the difficult economic conditions - over the coming weeks. In particular, many small independent retailers run the risk of going under as a result of these criminal acts. I have raised this directly with the Secretary of State for Communities, and central government has responded by announcing a package of support today. We are currently examining the details of this and, working with partner agencies, will do everything we can to help our businesses access the financial help and advice available.

We citizens still have a part to play in restoring confidence in our city. The city centre was not surprisingly very quiet yesterday, and we need to change that in the right way. Shops, and pubs and restaurants, theatres and cinemas, are still open for business. There is a strong police presence and will be over the coming days. I am confident that if anyone is stupid enough to think they can cause trouble, the police will stop them. So it's now down to us to show that it really is business as usual.

There are 8 responses to “The Only Place to Be”

  1. Pamela Berry Says:

    Hear! Hear! Mr Leese

  2. The Vast Majority Says:

    If only this where true! The unfortunately reality is that it was NOT a small minority of thugs that caused this sickening damage, it was in fact significant numbers, so significant that the police could neither control nor prevent the unfolding events. The Police were completely unprepared and impotent in their response and while individually deserve praise for their efforts, tactically and strategically where let down by their leaders and in turn citizens where unforgivably let down.
    I do congratulate Sir Richard for his tough speaking, sound bites, rhetoric and firm stance in terms of evicting council tenants and in true mancunian style I throw down the gauntlet to turn these polished politicians words into action. WHY when police knew what was about to happen did they let masses of youths into the city and sit by while they both congregated and escalated the pre riot atmosphere, surly dispersal would have been a better option.

    We don’t need a massive, political post-mortem to understand the cause of the riots. If anything in this mess is easy to translate it’s the three generations of benefits claimants who think that the taxpayer owe them a living. Parents who abdicate their responsibilities for both themselves and their damaged broods to the state. Discipline and values have gone out of the window, why should anyone expect to receive a lifetime of payouts for seeing their role in life as prolific baby making mothers as a viable alternative to stepping up to the plate and contributing to society through work. Because that’s the way have made it!

    These people need to understand consequences, as the Leader of the Council will we see positive affirmative action or tokenistic threats of eviction. The Public will wait and see.

  3. Neil Says:

    Good news for Manchester businesses to read

  4. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    I agree with the majority of the sentiments expressed in this blog and applaud all those Mancunians who stepped up to the plate in a show of solidarity to clean up the mess and mayhem left by the rioting, thieving looters whose sole intention was destruction and theft.

    But to seek to point the finger at someone/anyone to perpetrate the blame culture society we live in is wrong.

    It wasn’t the fault of the police, or the City Councils, or the vast majority of youth in the country. Everyone with a modicum of sense knows why it happened, greed.

    What I cannot accept is the knee jerk reactions of a mounting number of people. For instance, if the perpetrators are tenants of City Councils or other social landlords they should be evicted.

    So this so called “civilised society” calls for people to be thrown out on to the streets and if they are on benefits, have the benefit withdrawn and so made homeless and destitute.

    Then there are those that call for the families of the rioters to suffer the same fate, to be evicted because of the actions of one of their offspring. To have any benefits took away and to roam the streets with no home and penniless.

    So when the Council and Social Landlord tenants with rioters in their family have been made destitute and homeless, what is going to happen to the families of the wealthier rioters that live in the relatively affluent areas of society in comparison to the Council house dwellers?

    Well??? Yes, it’s the same old story the poorest in society suffer 10 fold more than the wealthy.

    Allow the courts and the law of land to deal with the criminals, not incensed citizens and lynch mobs who cannot see through the red mist they are creating through their own hatred.

    Businesses are given Government handouts, my tax, and what do I get? Higher insurance premiums?

    Why are businesses some sort of special case? Are the government throwing money out to the people who had their cars destroyed and therefore can’t get to work. I doubt it; they will have to rely on their insurers. Get ready for even higher car insurance premiums next time round!!

    Surely the businesses that were hit are insured? If not then I say, tough, they should suffer the same fate as no doubt I would if I was uninsured and my house was ransacked by looters. Somehow I don’t see the government turning up at my door with a bag of cash to bail me out.

    There needs to be a post mortem of the riots in an atmosphere of relative calm and logic to know the facts. To learn lessons and be better prepared in the future.

  5. Hummingbird Says:

    At first I reacted very angrily to the scenes of mayhem and rioting being perpetrated by unruly youths in the city centre. Now being in a more reflective mood, I have now begun to think about taking up some volunteering with youth groups in order to work with kids who obviously haven’t had the best start in life. So perhaps this might inspire many others to do the same.

  6. Maggie Says:

    Well said. I would also like to thank our wonderful emergency services teams who have helped make the decent citizens of manchester safe during the unrest. We saw the true spirit of Manchester on Wednesday and I am proud to be an honarary mancunian.

  7. Good day to bury bad news.. Says:

    @the vast majority...sure,the riots were sickening for Manchester.But why is it that we have money grabbing hypocrites in power who have done EXACTLY the same thing as the rioters,pilfering and stealing expenses,yet get away with it virtually scott free?Why can we spend millions every day bombing foreign powers-yet we can't afford university education all but the richest kids?Why are we spending 32 billion pounds on a replacement for Trident,when our youth centres and advice and guidance services for kids are all closing down through lack of funds?Why do we have billions in uncollected business tax from the top 10% in society-and yet the disabled are means tested to within an inch of their lives?Until we create a fairer society,less obsessed with greed and celebrity culture...this will be the tip of the iceberg...and one last question...who was it who told these young people that how they are judged as people is by what they wear,the car they drive,the size of their bank account...well-you tell me?

  8. bewildered Says:

    I agree with the views about the general disparity between rich and poor and how they are treated. But, what i have witnessed lately when brought into contact with young adults (family and non family members) is a worrying lack of respect for any form of authority and a view that the world "owes them a living". It seems that even the police have their hands tied.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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