The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 20 August 2011

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Of the 1,179 people who had appeared in court on charges arising from the riots by 15 August, two thirds were remanded in custody. The number of arrests by then had reached 2,772. Seven were arrested in connection with the murder of three Asian men in Birmingham, knocked down by a car. Tariq Jahan, the father of one of them, had appealed for calm after the murder: ‘I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites — we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another?’ A 16-year-old boy was charged with the murder of Richard Bowes, aged 68, who had been attacked as he had tried to put out a fire in Ealing. A man was charged over the robbery seen on television of a Malaysian student with a jaw broken in an earlier assault, under the guise of helping him. A man appeared in court charged with setting fire to Reeves furniture store in Croydon. Two men were jailed for four years each for using Facebook to incite disorder in Cheshire.

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‘The broken society is back at the top of my agenda,’ David Cameron, the Prime Minister said in a speech in his constituency. He said he wanted to ‘turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families in the country’ by 2015. Mr Cameron had wanted to make Bill Bratton, the former police chief of New York and Los Angeles, the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, but was opposed by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who wanted a British candidate. Mrs May said she wanted the names of young offenders to be disclosed, but no such thing happened, and MPs went off on holiday again after their single day of debate.

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