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"Raise aspirations through education" says Hackney's Mayor

PUBLISHED: 10:05 15 August 2011 | UPDATED: 13:53 16 August 2011

A red sports car set on fire by anarchists in Ellingfort Road. Photo credit Emma Bartholomew

A red sports car set on fire by anarchists in Ellingfort Road. Photo credit Emma Bartholomew

Archant

Town hall chiefs have been meeting with residents, businesses, community and faith leaders to try to "rebuild trust" following last week's riots which sparked widespread violence and looting across Hackney.

As shocked residents recovered from Monday night’s disturbances, Hackney’s Mayor Jules Pipe blamed a “deeply consumerist society” and suggested the way to avoid a repetition lay in raising people’s aspirations through education.

Tensions had run high since Friday night’s riots in Tottenham, and by 4pm on Monday, the centre of Hackney had descended into what many described as a “war zone”. Police re-inforcements fought running battles as troublemakers, many in masks, began hurling bricks and petrol bombs at cars and police officers, and smashing and looting shops. More than 50 arrests were made.

Hackney Police Borough Commander Steve Bending reassured residents this week that extra officers will be patrolling the streets over the next few days.

Several people were injured last Monday, including six police officers and a 75-year-old woman who suffered a fractured hip, after being knocked down by a crowd.

Mayor Pipe said there were many complex issues that could have contributed to the violent and criminal scenes witnessed in Hackney and across London.

“I would suggest one is that we are unfortunately a deeply consumerist society and many of the people bent on destruction, of many ages, used this to justify looting and thieving from their own communities,” he said.

“The only legitimate way people can achieve their aspirations is through gaining qualifications and developing skills,” he added.

“That’s why the council has put such an emphasis on supporting schools and raising standards.”

Ward councillors, council chief executive Tim Shields and Jules Pipe are consulting with key partners as well as residents, businesses, community and faith leaders tohear their views on how everyone can work together as a community to rebuild trust.

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