A PANEL set up by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to investigate the causes of the summer’s riots has visited Sheffield to examine why the city remained trouble-free when disorder flared across Britain.
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett organised the visit so the Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel’s members could ‘learn about what the city has done so right to avoid the rioting that affected many parts of the country’.
Sheffield is the largest city in England in which no trouble occurred.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore, who met the panel, said: “I believe the riots didn’t happen in Sheffield because of the city’s culture as a big village which is very inclusive and cohesive.
“There is a lot of work that goes on through the council, police and voluntary sector with all members of the community.”
Coun Dore said a major factor in keeping Sheffield trouble-free had been efforts by police to get to know youngsters in areas hit by postcode gang problems in the past had helped break down barriers with young people.
The panel, chaired by Darra Singh, met council chief executive John Mothersole, Mr Blunkett, council officers working on community cohesion and civic pride, and South Yorkshire Police.
Mr Blunkett said: “Together with Sheffield Council, I was pleased to invite Darra Singh and his fellow members of the Riot Communities and Victims Panel to Sheffield to talk through the lessons that can be learnt from a city that did not experience the devastation and disturbances of August.
“Not only did Sheffield avoid this year’s riots, but the city was also free of the riots of 1981, 1985 and those 10 years ago in many northern cities.”
Mr Singh, who chairs the Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel, said: “The Riots Communities and Victims Panel is travelling the country, speaking to a range of people including residents, businesses and young people to gather evidence about their experience of the riots.
“As part of the Panel’s work, we are interested in finding out what could have been done differently to manage or prevent the riots and why they happened in some areas and not others. That’s why we have visited Sheffield , as a large city that didn’t have any rioting.
“I am interested to find out first hand what measures they had in place and what steps they took to prevent the riots from affecting their community, keeping the city free of trouble.’’