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Public Lecture: From England to Melbourne: The 'Life-Cycle' of Riots (Profe...

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State Library of Victoria

328 Swanston Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

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From England to Melbourne: The 'Life-Cycle' of Riots

Professor Tim Newburn (London School of Economics)

Discussants to be confirmed.

Nearly six years ago England was hit by the most serious rioting for at least a generation. Drawing on his award-winning study of the 2011 English Riots conducted with the Guardian newspaper, Professor Tim Newburn reveals what was learned about the nature of this disorder and how it was understood politically and academically. Professor Newburn argues that society must move beyond its traditional preoccupation with how riots come to happen and think more about riots ‘in the round’. Focusing on what he refers to as the ‘life cycle’ of riots, and using examples from different countries including Australia, he argues that questions about how riots unfold and what follows in their wake should be of particular concern to not only social scientists, but also policy makers, practitioners and members of the public.

About Professor Tim Newburn:

Professor Tim Newburn is one of the UK's leading criminologists. Prior to joining the London School of Economics, he was Director of the Public Policy Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, having previously worked at the Policy Studies Institute, the National Institute for Social Work, the Home Office, and Leicester University. He is the author or editor of over 30 books, including the Handbook of Policing (Willan, 2008); Policy Transfer and Criminal Justice (with Jones, Open University Press, 2007); and the UK's leading criminology textbook, Criminology (Routledge, 2017). He was President of the British Society of Criminology (2005-08) and Director of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology (2003-08) and was elected to the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences in 2005.

Source: LSE Website

About the 'Reading the Riots' project:

Following the riots, Professor Newburn was approached by the Guardian with a view to establishing a joint study. In the following weeks he and Paul Lewis, then Special Projects Editor of the Guardian, raised the money for and designed what was to become Reading the Riots. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree and Open Society Foundations, its overall aim was to to seek to engage with the political debates around the riots and, through research, to help inform public debate.

In its first phase, researchers from Reading the Riots interviewed 270 rioters across the main cities involved in the disorder. The data were analysed and the research published in December 2011, only three months after the start of the project. In the second phase approximately 300 further interviews were conducted with police officers, lawyers and members of the communities most affected by the riots, and the results of this work were published in July 2012.

Breaking with academic tradition, the research was released entirely via the media, primarily via the Guardian newspaper, but also through a series of films and other events.

The study’s findings about rioters’ views of the police was the subject of a BBC2 Newsnight film (5 December 2011), and was followed by a studio discussion which included the Police Minister, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, David Lammy MP and Tim Newburn. A full-length verbatim drama using material from Reading the Riots was also broadcast by the BBC in 2012. The launch of Phase Two of the study was also accompanied by a Newsnight special and a second studio discussion.

Reading the Riots stimulated considerable public debate, and those responding directly to some of the study’s findings included: the Home Secretary; the Leader of the Opposition; Shadow Home Secretary; the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service; the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Mayor of London; the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Chairman of the Police Federation; the Director of Public Prosecutions; the Chairman of the Government’s post-riots Victims and Communities Panel; and the Government official responsible for leading on the response to the riots.

The most significant direct policy response to Reading the Riots came at the LSE’s conference on 14th December 2011. In her speech, the Home Secretary announced a formal review of best practice in relation to police stop and search powers. A major element of this was a review undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, a primary prompt for which was the LSE and Guardian report. HMIC published their review in July 2013, and in a statement in the House of Commons on 2nd July 2013 the Home Secretary said she anticipated significant reform of the use of these powers.

The findings of Reading the Riots have been reported all around the globe, and in 2012, the Guardian’s ground-breaking partnership with the LSE was awarded 'Innovation of the Year' at the British Journalism Awards and the 'Innovation Award' at the European Press awards, as well as being shortlisted for the THES 'research project of the year' award.

Source: LSE website

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Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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