Brixton Riots 1981

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  • 1981 Brixton riot
    • confrontation between the Metropolitan Police and protesters in Lambeth, South London, England, between 10 and 11 April 1981
      • Reports suggested that up to 5,000 people were involved
    • Causes/Effect
      • 280 injuries to police
      • 45 injuries to the public
      • over 100 vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles
      • almost 150 buildings were damaged, with thirty burned
      • 82 arrests
    • Background
      • Brixton in South London was an area with serious social and economic problems.
      • The whole United Kingdom was affected by a recession by 1981
        • but the local African-Caribbean community was suffering particularly...
          • high unemployment, poor housing, and a higher than average crime rate
      • growing unease between the police and the inhabitants of Lambeth
      • In 1980 the number of crimes recorded in the Lambeth Borough was 30,805. The Brixton Division was responsible for 10,626 of those crimes.
        • Between 1976 and 1980 Brixton accounted for 35% of all crimes on the Borough, but 49% of all Robbery and Violent Theft offences
      • At the beginning of April, the Metropolitan Police began Operation Swamp 81, a plainclothes operation to reduce crime and uniformed patrols were increased in the area.
        • Officers from other Metropolitan police districts and the Special Patrol Group were dispatched into Brixton, and within five days...
          • The Sus law was a type of law which allowed police to search and arrest members of the public when it was believed that they were acting suspiciously and not necessarily committing a crime.
          • 943 people were stopped and searched, and 82 arrested, through the heavy use of the Sus law (stop and search powers).
          • The African-Caribbean community stated that the police were arresting black people without a specific reason


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