Criticism of riot policing right

First published in Croydon

Andrew Pelling is right to criticise the police handling of the riots in Croydon last August.

I’m sure that we all hope that lessons will be learned and that the police will never again allow such a situation to get as serious as it did before they take proper and decisive action to protect our lives and property.

However in his letter published last week Andrew Pelling makes some extraordinary, some might say bizarre comments about our local political representatives in particular Gavin Barwell MP for Croydon Central.

He says that Mr Barwell ‘drove away from his constituents with the smoke in his rear view mirror’ and accuses him and GLA member Steve O’Connell of a ‘dereliction of duty’ Gavin Barwell reported on his blog that he was driving home from a meeting in South Norwood that evening when he noticed that plumes of smoke were rising from Croydon town centre and in view of what had happened in other parts of London the previous weekend he feared the worst.

I wonder just what action Mr Pelling would have taken had he still been an MP or GLA member last year, Would he have marched into the police command centre to seize control? Would he have confronted the mob single handed? Perhaps he would have been knocking on doors to reassure people that he was on the job.

On a night when other parts of London and parts of other cities were also being attacked does Mr Pelling really think that the Prime Minister or Home Secretary would make Croydon a special case and draft the full resources of the state into action at a monents notice if the local MP demanded it?

The day after the riots Gavin Barwell sent an email bulletin to all of those on his mailing list asking constituents for their views and comment so that he could raise the points during the Parliamentary debate. Gavin Barwell was the first MP to be called to speak during the debate and I was very pleased with his contribution.

Furthermore, Gavin Barwell has received a considerable amount of praise for his work during the aftermath of the riots; he has regularly been on the news and other media and he was recently named ‘Conservative Backbencher of the Year 2011’ by Asian Voice magazine largely in recognition of his response to the riots. So it is unfair and inaccurate for Andrew Pelling to accuse him of inaction.

Many who have known Andrew Pelling for a number of years will no doubt be saddened to see that he is now stooping so low with such unwarranted and bitter claims.

Yours Faithfully

Robert King
Addiscombe

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