Monday, 8 August 2011

Riots in Shepherd's Bush: calm down dears


Riots in Shepherd’s Bush were breathlessly reported last night on Twitter as the local rumourmill went into full overdrive after somebody spotted two police cars sat outside White City station. Controversial Free Schooler Toby Young then weighed in with a report of a “major” police operation in East Acton, while others said they thought Westfield was under sustained attack.

The only problem, as with so many stories that emerge in the middle of what were admittedly very serious scenes last night in Enfield and Brixton, is that they were untrue. Or at least highly inaccurate. Intrigued by the report on East Acton I drove around at about 8pm – the most action was from the obligatory group of lads hanging around a street corner on Bray Street smoking some fags. Not a uniform of any kind in sight.

Westfield was deserted according to pics posted by one reader keen to dispel the reports of imminent retail Armageddon while Shepherd’s Bush itself had what looked like a fairly mundane police operation stopping the odd person coming out of the central line tube.

And therein lies the problem with situations like this – bad reporting of bad news, as we have seen before in W12, actually risks provoking the problems it is ostensibly reporting on. Unkinder commenters than me may even think that they are hoping for something so they can draft more dramatic copy.

We have had some very serious problems in our area, not least the Lakeside Road shooting which bears uncanny similarities to the shooting in Tottenham that provoked the riots there over the weekend. To the extent that the victim was a young man sitting in a car, anyway. But the police, who do a great and at times very dangerous job as I saw for myself one Saturday night, do not need others whipping things up needlessly. Neither do our communities who debated amongst themselves on this blog following both the Lakeside Rd shooting and Hammersmith bus station stabbing just weeks later. In those comments, which you can read here and here in the comments section, you will find not one person advocating some kind of riot.

The best thing this community can do is to enjoy the forthcoming Bush Festival and keep talking to each other. I’ll be reporting on some more work I might be doing with the local police here shortly and if you have any views in the meantime, use the comments section below as normal.

Oh, and yes the blog did slow down over the last two weeks – I have been in the South of France! Normal service is resumed…

1230 UPDATE - I have just received the below information which was sent by the Borough Commander of Hammersmith and Fulham Metropolitan Police to H&F Councillors. These are the facts, therefore, and not the speculation:

A number of youths were involved in minor disorder against the police at approximately 1700hrs in the Edward Wood Estate. They moved from the Estate towards Shepherds Bush Green and then Westfield. Extra patrols were put in place around Shepherds Bush Green and the Westfield to ensure that there was a visible police presence to deter those considering engaging in criminality. Throughout the night we have worked closely with Westfield Management.

Monday (today)
At 0400hrs this morning up to 9 males tried to smash glass to gain access to a premises in the Kings Road SW6. Owing to the extra patrols which were on locally officers were on scene immediately and 6 males were detained. Some of the property was recovered. They are still in custody. They are not local to Hammersmith and Fulham.

0850 TUESDAY UPDATE - Well, last night wasn't very pleasant was it. I have just come through Clapham Junction on my way to work and the scene here is sheer devastation. Entire rows of shops, including a large Debenhams department store, are gutted. The place smells like a bonfire, because I suppose that's what it was last night.

Back in W12 the Police tell me all was quiet with only sporadic outbreaks of disorder primarily in the south of the borough. Here's what a spokeswoman told me this morning:

"Sporadic disorder during the night, primarily in the Fulham area., around North End Road and the Clem Atlee Estate. 9 arrests were made for violent disorder and breach of the peace".

I know from other sources that some police have been moved out of our borough and towards other areas where the violence has been more intense. That, to me, makes sense. I also know that people have been working ridiculous hours both in H&F and elsewhere within the Met, in some cases on the front lines which is what some of our streets have become in the Capital. Public order police volunteer for their roles and receive no extra pay - and as this Police officer who also blogs says - they are starting to ask why they should, now that the Government are cutting their pay, pensions and even numbers.

1100 UPDATE - Meanwhile some of you have been noticing that the Fulham Chronicle is acting with its usual degree of responsibility -

This from their own site:
and this from Twitter:

1200 UPDATE - A map of the areas in London thus far affected by the rioting has been produced. Ealing features in the West but thankfully W12 remains clear. You can see the map for yourself here.


  1. Lots of hysteria on Twitter last night, but in the end W12 residents counter acted the negative reports by actually going out and taking photos to prove that there was no trouble in the area. Thank you @Sachab. My personal favourite was @RoxanneLaWin who tweeted: "Don't be daft. Westfield's fine. Lovely community atmosphere at the moment in BushW12."

  2. Woooo! Chris is back! Let us know next time you're leaving us...

  3. stealing stuff hardly makes you a fighter of the system or threat you are just a thief and not actually doing something to stop the real problems that are happening. Another major factor is Boris sitting around and saying I am not coming back from holiday? wtf? If so much money is being poured into the olympics maybe that is what is disconcerning the people looking for work etc - why do the government not think to offer a job or two and make the young a placement to work with all this funding and then maybe people wont feel to loot and threaten the community they actualy live in? it seems like you are thinking of hurting your own doorstep where you live or is it just a bunch of organised older criminals telling people what to do and travelling around and causing chaos. It is good that the W12 community stick together because we all want to live somewhere and enjoy it...I feel sorry for all families involved and all people who lost their jobs and their homes....why do you aim at your community ... aim at the political and media pressence that causes this


    Westfield aren't taking any chances by the looks of things...

  5. I have just come off the overland northbound... group of kids getting off from south London at Shepherds Bush, couple of them with visible empty bags and rucksacks..... Bit too late as there are steel barricades, and sniffer dogs, police and bouncers at the entrance of the shrine to Mammon...

  6. the security bouncers guarding Westfield riot barriers are on high alert. twitterers & bloggers have posted photos of the Westfield barriers but security are now confiscating cameras off anyone who tries to take photos. very heghtened tension and not a warm welcome. avoid!

  7. Well done to the police for nipping this one in the bud in Bush.

  8. I'm pleased the polic are doing a good job around Shepherds bush I was on way home at 11 o'clock last night and saw the groups arriving in Wood Lane. There were quite a few adults too arriving and parking near debenhams. Obviously they are all a bunch of theiving B's. I hope the courts deal very sternly with all the offenders that are caught.
    This country has been too liberal and kind to communities and offenders. Its about time we get tough like our European comrades. No other country in EU would tolerate this sort of behaviour!

  9. Where are our water canons, plastic bulletts and back bones!! We are so PC as a nation it has made us weak and therefore vulnerable. Isnt it time we got a grip of this situation and tear gas these idiots back to their mummies? They cant steal with stinging, watering eyes now can they?!!

  10. Notting Hill and West Ealing closing inwards. Coming into Acton apparently.

  11. First, it's absolutely outrageous that you didn't return sooner from your holiday to take control. Second, TobyYoung needs rectifying. Third, if responsible W12 residents WERE to make a show of peaceful presence, solidarity, strength and community resolve, WHERE to gather/congregate?

  12. I take full responsibility - it's my holiday that got us into this mess!

    On your third point - it's a good question. What do others think?

  13. Bush festival on Sat? Needed more than ever, but might get cancelled.


  14. What about a candlelit vigil or human chain around the perimeter of Shepherd's Bush Green?

  15. I heard that in Ealing the cleanup still wasn't properly underway as they were waiting for the fire brigade to finish securing buildings. There might be stuff to do there (take gloves and a broom). Even if there isn't much that needs doing, the shop keepers are appreciative of the company/support/kindness. The pictures of Boris in Clapham with a broom really show it's more of a solidarity thing than actual manual labour going on... but sometimes the offer of human kindness can repair so much more than a broken window. Stay safe.

  16. What a bunch of scummy little c""ts with nothing better to do than making stupid excuses for their pilfering ,vandalism and violence .there is no excuse for them to rip communities apart. Everyone should stand up and be counted against these little mugs . I for one am in favour of Eradicating these scumbags from my manor

  17. Does anybody know what the situation is in Shepherd's Bush right now? (17:30 09/08)

  18. Hoodies on the Goldhawk road started causing trouble while I was walking past the Rajput. In seconds there were about 40 officers and they searched them. Conningham road lots of officers and some trouble makers. Dont go out , there is only trouble on the streets out there.