HL Deb 10 July 2001 vol 626 cc1038-50

5 p.m.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, David Blunkett. The Statement is as follows:

"I believe that the response of the whole House will be to make it clear that we cannot and will not tolerate the wanton destruction and violence we have witnessed over the past few days.

"The message must be unequivocal and unwavering: whatever the debate about alienation and disaffection, attacking the police, destroying the well-being of the local community and playing into the hands of organised groups will simply not be tolerated.

"The facts can be recounted briefly. The banning order on all marches and processions in Bradford for three months had been in force since 4th July. The police were aware of reports of extreme right-wing elements seeking to defy the ban.

"Fighting began in the town centre in the late afternoon as efforts were made to disperse an Anti-Nazi League rally. The fighting shifted from the city centre to the Manningham area in the early evening, by which time the police themselves were the focus for attack.

"Missiles, including petrol bombs which had clearly been prepared in advance, were thrown at the police by a mob numbering 400 to 500 at its peak. One hundred and sixty-four police officers were injured. Thirty-six people were arrested, only two of whom were from outside Bradford.

"On Sunday night and Monday morning the Manningham area was quiet. Subsequently there was a serious attack on a restaurant in the Ravenscliff area and I regret to say that there was further disorder last night, involving youths throwing missiles in the Ravenscliff and Holmwood areas of the city. There have in total been 34 more arrests arising from the disorder in the city since Sunday.

"The police commander at the scene spoke of senseless violence and criminality. I endorse his judgment and applaud the courage shown by the police themselves in dealing with the situation.

"The damage to local businesses and the prosperity of the area will not be made good quickly. As always, the people who suffer in the long run will be members of the local community. We will wish to work with the people of Bradford to restore calm and look to the future.

"However, let me make it clear that a prerequisite for dealing with social ills or rebuilding confidence within the community must be to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that order is restored.

"Following the disturbances in Oldham and Burnley, I asked my right honourable friend, the Minister of State responsible for crime reduction, policing and community safety, to draw together an inter-departmental ministerial group. That has met twice already. He will today be publishing preliminary results of wider action proposed by that group in addressing the concerns in a range of communities across the country and how, in conjunction with local people, the Government can do more to minimise the risk of further disorder.

"I wish to stress that we are not seeking to impose solutions from Whitehall or to lift the responsibility that must rest at local level, but we are seeking from local communities possible ideas on how young people can be further aided in taking up opportunities for recreation and other activities over the summer months—in particular, measures to bring different religions and racial and community groups together.

"I now propose to take that work a stage further. The ministerial group will undertake an urgent review over the summer of all the relevant community issues. It will be supported by a small, dedicated review team of people with the right skills. That team will seek views from people on the ground in the areas which have suffered violence, as well as in other places with similar social and demographic features which have not. The aim will be to draw lessons that can inform future policy at national, local and community levels.

"That group will continue its work and be complemented by the development of longer-term proposals from the Performance and Innovation Unit based in the Cabinet Office.

"There are many lessons to be learned from past as well as present events. The intelligence of practical planning issues for the police is one such challenge. We now need to ensure that the professionalism and experience of our police service is made available quickly and effectively to prevent further disturbance.

"The Association of Chief Police Officers has already held one meeting of commanders under the auspices of the "national operations faculty" to establish what lessons can be learnt not just in preventing, but also in bringing to a rapid conclusion, the kind of disorder that we saw on Saturday evening.

"I shall wish to discuss with ACPO how we might build on that initiative, pooling such experience and ensuring that operational commanders can find sources of advice immediately in helping them to deal with these exceptionally difficult situations.

"The vast majority of people in our society, regardless of their ethnic background, want the same things for themselves and their children. As we share common goals, it has to be to find a way of working and living together successfully.

"Our aim is to create an inclusive society, local communities which meet the needs of all groups, and a dialogue that transcends differences.

Organised thugs from whatever background or standpoint undermine that possibility and that is why the threat from them must be met head on.

"The message from today is that we will not accept the destruction of hard-won improvements in the most difficult areas of our country; nor would local people forgive us if we do not provide them with the protection that they deserve."

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.

5.5 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating that Statement. Your Lordships' House contains quite a number of Peers who have great experience of race relations matters, including, from today, the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, who is most welcome. We all look forward in particular to seeing his report on the situation in Bradford, which was written before these outrages but which is, nevertheless, very up to date, important and relevant.

Does the Minister recognise that we fully agree with the Home Secretary that there are no excuses for that violence and destruction, and that the restoration of order is a pre-requisite for dealing with any social and economic ills?

As the Statement made clear, the outrages fundamentally involve criminal violence, which must always be resisted. Of course, we must also try to understand the causes of the start of the violence and the reasons why it spread so fiercely and lasted for so long. Those reasons undoubtedly lie partly in the difficult economic and social problems in Bradford, to which the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, referred earlier.

It appears that the violence was launched by a small minority of extremists. Everyone supported the ban on marches and the National Front march appears to have been successfully stopped. Can the Minister say how far extremists from the Anti-Nazi League were responsible for starting the trouble, as the Statement hinted?

Can the Minister also say something about police numbers in West Yorkshire? I refer not to police numbers during these difficult times—there appears to be an entirely sufficient number of police dealing with the situation—but to the numbers required to carry out normal police duties and to ensure that relations between the police and the public are improved.

On water cannon and other strong measures that have been mentioned in connection with this matter, can the Minister confirm that their adoption would be a decision for chief constables and not primarily a matter for the Home Secretary? It is unacceptable for our police to have to stand and be bombarded hour after hour with petrol bombs, bricks and worse missiles, until 164 of them and several police horses are injured. We would support any chief constable who thought that water cannon or other measures would be of use in such situations. The police have the relevant experience and responsibility and they should take that decision.

Our sympathy is with the injured police and with the citizens of Bradford whose lives have been so appallingly disrupted.

5.10 p.m.

Lord McNally

My Lords, on occasions such as this we want to do more than just go through the motions of applauding the courage of the police when faced with such a situation. When one is on the front line it must be extremely frightening, and the way the police behaved on that night shows the discipline of our forces. We also express sympathy for the wider community.

We welcome the intention to further co-ordinate government action and to review community policy in these matters. But I confess that I worry a little about the tone of some of the statements that have been made since this riot. An American observer once said, "It is possible in a democracy to build your support on the un-young, the un-poor and the un-black. But do not be surprised if your cities burn". Policies have to go beyond middle England to areas of real deprivation if the police and other authorities are not to be faced with the problems that were faced last weekend.

We must therefore go beyond the ritual condemnation of senseless violence and criminality —"We will not tolerate wanton destruction and violence"—that is the given in any society. We must look to our new Home Secretary for the imagination to go beyond those stock responses. And does the Minister agree that this is a good time to place on record the immense contribution that our Asian community has made to our society over the past 30 or 40 years, from the virtual saving of our corner shop by numerous Mr. Patels, to some of our most successful job-creating entrepreneurs?

That is why the statistic given earlier today was all the more shocking. Was not the Minister truly appalled at the statistic that only 31 per cent of the 16 to 25 year-old male ethnics in Bradford are employed? Is not that the kind of issue that really demands indignation and immediate action? Have the Government ruled out a Scarman-type inquiry that would allow a broader look at the issue in Bradford and other northern cities?

While on the question of support for the police, does the Minister worry, as I do, that yet again this is a white police force trying to provide law and order? This is a city which has had a substantial ethnic community over a long period, yet so far as I can see—it would be interesting to see the statistics—I would guess that less than 3 per cent of that force come from the ethnic community. The police must take on board the reality that they have to recruit from the ethnic communities if they are going to be able to police effectively.

The noble Lord mentioned our latest recruit, the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, and I hope we are able to use his experience and expertise. Even the leaked parts of his report show what a deep and fundamental problem needs to be tackled here, both in education and housing, and the virtual apartheid that is taking place in Bradford and other communities. Those are the seeds of disaster and violence.

We must look at how we deal with this problem that has occurred in the north of England. It is a community brought up to work in a textile industry that no longer exists. That generation may have brought with it the usual passivity of an immigrant community, grateful for the opportunity to work, but the sons and daughters who see themselves as Britons are not going to tolerate second-class citizenship; constant jibing of "Paki"; the sport of "Paki-bashing". We must deal with bringing those communities into our society and we will not do it if we only employ 31 per cent of them.

Finally, in relation to the activities of the extremist groups, in such a tinder box both the far right and the far left will make mischief. So is the Minister aware that we believe that all the democratic parties should stand shoulder to shoulder at these times and resist the damage to our communities done by those extremists? There is a sense of urgency and we must move beyond the soundbites of how tough we are going to be to a real programme to deal with some of the underlying problems. That will give a greater sense of confidence, not least to those communities themselves.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I am grateful for the overall tone of the two responses from the noble Lords, Lord Cope and Lord McNally. We have tried to go beyond the soundbite—I do not believe it was a criticism, though it is easy for people to slip into that.

But there will not be any excuses and the restoration of law and order is a pre-requisite for doing the other works. That is fundamental; otherwise the public at large will feel that they are being deserted or held to ransom and we are not prepared to accept that.

I do not know and have no information to share with the House regarding the precise nature of the Anti-Nazi League demonstration. It is quite clear that the march ban was accepted. But there is evidence from other parts of the country which shows that those who wish to oppose the far right from the far left seek to have their demonstration even though the other one was banned. That has led to difficulties, as was said by one of the newly-elected Members of the other place in a newspaper yesterday. That happened in his constituency before the election. There have been difficulties throughout the year. It is not wholly related to the past few weeks.

The noble Lord, Lord Cope, asked about police numbers in West Yorkshire. He is absolutely right. To the best of our knowledge on the evenings and days in question, as indeed as I speak now, there is no issue in regard to adequate numbers. The numbers were supplied. They had been requested under mutual aid and the police were out on the street. But I believe that the noble Lord was asking a wider question and he deserves an answer.

I can give figures for Greater Manchester and Lancashire if required. In West Yorkshire the police had 4,815 officers on 31st March this year, which is seven fewer than in March 2000 and 394 fewer than in March 1997. There does not seem to be a reason why West Yorkshire has experienced such a large drop compared with the Lancashire constabulary, which has eight more than in 1997, and Greater Manchester with only 13 fewer than in 1997. There is no budgetary reason and nothing untoward about the money that has been allocated. I understand that there will be an extra 92 recruits from the Crime Fighting Fund allocation and probably a net gain of 200 this year. But in response to the disturbances and the current situation there is no shortage of police.

I confirm also, in respect of water cannon and other police equipment, that they are operational decisions for the chief constable. They are not matters for Ministers. Ministers do not police cities; the police police the cities. That is the way it has been and will continue to be. It is our job to provide the resources for the chief constables, but those are wholly operational matters. I share the views of the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, that he expressed when answering questions in relation to baton rounds. They kill people. But no one is raising that issue.

In respect of our attempts to co-ordinate, Whitehall has produced a large number of programmes. Neighbourhood renewal programmes are taking place in some 80 inner city areas of the country, divided up based on the enumeration districts. Therefore, we are attempting to target those areas as well.

Among 12 major English cities, Bradford has below average rates of violent crime, burglary and vehicle crime, but surveys show that the perception of crime and disorder is increasing. There is no doubt that drug misuse is a major concern and heroin is a rapidly increasing problem. There has also been a steady increase in racially-motivated incidents reported to the police.

I regret that I was unable to remain in the Chamber for the whole of Question Time today, but I am aware of the figures given by my noble friend Lady Hollis. They are appalling. The greatest asset of any country is the capacity and willingness of its people to work. If that asset is wasted, people's lives and economic advancement are thrown away. Therefore, getting people into work—sometimes with a carrot-and-stick approach—is fundamental. Part of the direction of many of the social security benefit changes in the past four years were made so that people can no longer say, "I am better off not working". However, there are still pockets of concern and those pockets can be split in terms of the ethnic origins of people. However, that is outwith the mainstream of policy and we must certainly do more in that area.

I regret that I do not have figures on the make-up of the police force. I do not argue with the assertion in the question. The numbers of those in the police force from ethnic minorities are extremely low. However, I do not necessarily accept that in order to do a professional job we need to have a mixed police force, although a mixed force would send out the right signals in a mixed community that is segregated by housing policies.

In many of our inner cities there is a completely false market in housing costs. Houses that are worth twopence-halfpenny sell for thousands of pounds. Those in the ethnic communities want to live together, not just for reasons of safety, but to be near to their families, near to the mosque or the temple and near to schools. That results in segregation in our cities. Certain areas are almost nominated de facto for certain communities, which is not good for multicultural living in this country. In many of our inner cities there is a complete distortion of the housing market which becomes a real problem when one tries to carry out housing regeneration programmes. However, I do not have an answer. People can ask questions about this matter, but, as the Home Secretary said, it would be better if people came up with a few answers.

It is important that democratic parties stick together. It is now July and before long we shall be into the local elections for next year. There is no time to waste. Democratic parties must come together and work with their respective supporters to push forward the democratic credo: votes in ballot boxes, mature argument, good investment in the communities, in education, in the economy and in health, and a fundamental head-on meeting of the anti-democratic forces. We do not need to snuff out or to ban antidemocratic forces, but we need to meet them head-on with the arguments. If that is carried out in a mature and a responsible manner, backed up with all the programmes that government, both local and national, are carrying out, we have a reasonable chance of achieving wider support from the community to protect and advance itself.

5.24 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Manchester

My Lords, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford regrets that he is unable to be present today. As noble Lords will understand, he is fully engaged. He sends his apologies to the House and trusts his brother from across the Pennines to speak the truth on his behalf. That is quite an undertaking when one remembers the red rose and the white rose.

In the Manchester diocese we have experience of recent difficulties in Oldham. Burnley is just up the road and now we have Bradford. I understand that I must ask questions and not make a speech. I hope that the Minister will take seriously the complexity of the situation. I mention "complexity" in two or three different contexts. One is that the young people involved in the Bradford riots were not simply Asians, but a mixture of Asians, Afro-Caribbeans and white Brits. In other words, we are talking about young people as well as ethnicity.

Secondly, the experience in some of the other communities has been that young people may want to live next to the mosque, with people from their own country, but this generation of young people, who were born in Britain, no longer feel obedient to their parents and grandparents or to the imams in the mosque, as did previous generations of people from Asia or the Afro-Caribbean. Having put up with much racism from white people over the years, they are now sufficient in numbers to exert their strength and to copy the yobbish behaviour of some of our white teenagers. We must admit and own that.

As to the complexity of the situation, the leaders are condemnatory of the violence, but feel equally powerless to exert leverage on young people in the way in which we, miles away from Bradford, may imagine. Do we understand the complexity of the young people? Do we understand the complexity of acquiring new jobs for Asian and other young people in Oldham and in Bradford?

Yesterday we were discussing shareholders and millions of pounds and I had come from a hearing on debt and poverty. But will people invest in Oldham and Bradford now? Local authorities and government must take the initiative to help in relation to unemployment.

Thirdly, there is the complexity of the police. We hope that the police will be able to recruit many ethnic young people. Having lived and preached in Manchester and having met regularly with senior police officers and chiefs of police across the North West, I ask whether people are aware of the complexity of attracting young people of ethnic groups into the police force.

Finally, comments have been made about the tone. Any talk about ethnic relations in England now is fraught with difficulty and tension. Having recently listened to the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, lecturing in Salford about the brittleness of community relations and sensitivity, we need an inquiry that goes beyond the sound-bite, deep into our young people's anxieties, despairs and alienation. Who will do that and how will it be done? I am glad to hear that the Government have in mind how it will be done and which young people from local communities in Bradford will be involved.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I respect what the right reverend Prelate has said on his own behalf and on behalf of his colleague. He is quite right about the pressure on young people these days. Unfortunately, some of their elders believe that the villages that they left 30 years ago are still the same, whereas young people today know that they are not. Within the families and the communities there are massive internal pressures as people come to terms with the situation. They want to maintain their culture and their heritage. They do not like being lumped together by their ethnic origins. There may also be a religious factor. Some of them say, "I was born here; call me British". It is a complex problem. We shall seek to do our best to involve young people in some of the programmes. However, positive local leadership is required and not the empty barrels of the sometimes self-appointed leaders in the various communities who, in the past, have spoken up loudly but have not actually spoken for anybody other than themselves.

Lord Greaves

My Lords, perhaps I can remind the House of a question that I asked 12 days ago on preventing these riots spreading to other towns. At the weekend I saw on television my old home town of Bradford burning and with riots in the streets. I felt a sense of despair, although I did not feel a sense of surprise. Unless a huge amount of work is carried out on preventing more riots in other towns—we all know where they are—there will be more.

Do the Government understand that it is not only necessary to talk to all the usual organisations, all the community leaders—usually middle-aged men—and all the local agencies, but that they must also talk to the young Asian people concerned, who, utterly misguidedly, go on to the streets to "defend their areas and to defend their families"? All that they are doing, in fact, is wrecking their communities and fighting the police. Those young people must be involved in the discussions locally to find solutions, not just in the long run—I welcome everything in the Statement about that—but also in relation to what will happen next week or the week after if a gang of white thugs, whether or not linked to the BNP or the National Front or just tanked up out of the pub, come out on to the street and start a riot.

My experience of talking to such young people is that there is a great deal of unfocused anger among young Asian men, many still teenagers, and that they are unable to focus that anger in a positive direction. However, unless it can be appeased and they can take part in the plans and agreements reached about what will happen if the spark ignites in their community we shall have more such occurrences.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, we shall seek to involve representatives of the younger community so that other than middle-aged men are involved. As was touched on in the Statement, we have set up a group to examine "best practice" in other cities where there has not been a problem. We want to see how they are coping so that we can learn what they have done that is different from the cities in which there have been difficulties in the past few days and weeks. This is not a widespread, national issue. Some areas with large ethnic minority groups have good community relations and there is no rioting. There is participation and community relations are good. We want to examine those good points and discover why the situation is different in some of the other cities. We need to learn that lesson fast in the next few days and weeks; it is not an issue for next month or next year.

Lord Dubs

My Lords, I welcome the Statement, in particular the intention to set up an interdepartmental ministerial group. I appreciate that my noble friend is not responsible for education but perhaps for the sake of clarity I may ask him to feed in one proposition. Will the group examine the structure of education in those towns which have had difficulties, not only Bradford, in order to see whether we are failing by having educational segregation—in other words, racial segregation—insofar as some schools are mainly white and others are mainly Asian? One has only to think about Northern Ireland to see what the consequences may be if that is the case. This may be one element in the difficulties we have experienced.

That leaves a responsibility on the Government, on local education authorities and, as regards Church schools, on the Churches. I hope that the ministerial team will examine the issue as part of their scrutiny.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, the best thing I can do is to ensure that my noble friend's question and comments are drawn to the attention of my ministerial colleagues. However, as the Home Secretary made clear, we are not going down the road of bussing. Wherever that has been tried it has not worked. There is a problem as regards catchment areas. If in these cities there is a false market in housing, by definition the catchment of local schools will result in segregation. There is a difficulty and there is no easy answer. Nevertheless, what my noble friend said will be taken on board.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, the Minister made the grave statement that the dangerous weapons used by the rioters were obviously prepared for the occasion. Is there to be an investigation as to how they were manufactured; how their manufacture was financed; how they were procured; how their procurement was financed; and where they were stored?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, that is what policing is about. In inquiring into what happened, the police will look at the causes of the incident and how it began and at the weapons and how they were put together. Molotov cocktails were used, so clearly the bottles and the fuel were obtained and the weapons prepared. There will not be a special inquiry but the police will carry out their normal duty of discovering the cause and that will cover the very points the noble and learned Lord raised.

Lord Jenkin of Roding

My Lords, picking up on the high rate of unemployment among the young in Bradford, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and following on the anxieties of the right reverend Prelate about the reluctance of business to invest in such a city, will the Government consider following the excellent example of my former right honourable friend Michael Heseltine after the Toxteth riots some 20 years ago? He personally made an enormous effort to interest investors, industrialists and others in investing in the city of which Toxteth is part and did so with considerable impact.

I followed Michael Heseltine in the job he had occupied and found myself opening facility after facility. Those had been directly inspired by the positive action by the then government to encourage businesses to recognise that they had a responsibility for some of the very deprived areas. Is that an example that might be followed?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I recall that the White Paper prepared by the then Secretary of State was entitled It Took a Riot. He had a different approach which the previous government and the present Government continued. Solving the problem is not a policing matter—it is not about containment. That is the by-product of some of the issues but we will not solve the problem by having more police and a greater containment of people. These issues transcend that. They are about investment, jobs, education and health opportunities. A great deal of investment has been planned and has been made in Bradford. Some of that has been wasted and will have to be repeated as people have destroyed part of their own community. There was £114 million from the single regeneration budget alone, Bradford having nine successful bids at various times. Indeed, £10.5 million went in to the health action zone.

The noble Lord is right in saying that there is a case to be made but, as he well knows, the task of government in approaching business is not made easier after the event. It must be done before. However, the lessons will be taken on board. I visited the area many times in my former role as shadow Minister and saw what had been achieved following the visit, initiative and commitment of the former Secretary of State.

Lord Ahmed

My Lords, does the Minister agree that more than 95 per cent of the Asian communities in Bradford, Oldham and elsewhere have been horrified to see the events of the past few weeks? Does he also agree that there have been low educational achievements in Bradford because, for instance, less than 19 per cent of young Asian men achieve five grade A to C passes at GCSE level? Therefore, is it not necessary to examine the educational achievements of the Asian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi children particularly in Bradford, Oldham and northern towns where problems have occurred? In the long term, the job opportunities and the training which follows must be preceded by a proper education at school.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, in agreeing with my noble friend all I can do is repeat the words of the Prime Minister: it is a matter of education, education, education. Clearly, given the low level of attainment by so many young people there has been an abject failure in the recent past. Without qualifications there will not be any progress. My noble friend is absolutely right that this point must be taken on board in the work that is to be taken forward.

Lord Monson

My Lords, perhaps I may commend to the Minister and the House as a whole, if he or other noble Lords have not already read it, today's in-depth and extremely informative report in the Yorkshire Post about the background to the riots. First, does the Minister agree that if the outdoor temperature in Bradford last weekend had been 20 degrees cooler than it was the disturbances would have been on a much smaller scale? Historically, rioting tends to take place when the nights are hot. Secondly, does the noble Lord agree that there are few things that young males of all backgrounds, and in all eras, enjoy more than the sound of breaking glass and the sight of leaping flames? Certainly, in the part of the East Midlands where I live, one of the favourite pastimes of adolescent males is to steal cars and set them ablaze. Does the Minister agree that to a large extent it is perhaps a problem of youth rather than race?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I am aware that the matters described by the noble Lord do happen, but his observation does not apply to the majority of young people in this country. We are talking here about the involvement of a minuscule number of young people. I am aware that in our cities windows are broken, cars are stolen and so on, but the vast majority of young people lead a decent quality of life. Therefore, we are dealing with a minority, the effect of whose actions on communities is totally disproportionate, and, therefore, we must not ignore it. I am not sure I accept the noble Lord's point about temperature. If one accepted it one might go for a low temperature all year round. Would that direct us to greater efforts to look at disadvantage and discrimination in our communities and ensure that we pursued our policies at a faster pace? I accept that the temperature was up, but I do not believe that that is the reason. Issues such as deprivation, non-achievement and lack of investment must be tackled as much in the winter as in the summer. This incident brings matters to a head. I regret that I have not read the report in the Yorkshire Post but I shall do so.

Lord Hardy of Wath

My Lords, while I welcome my noble friend's approach and am gratified that the Government are aware of, and are attending to, the causes of this problem, does he also agree that the symptoms are not acceptable and that to maintain police morale a fairly firm view should be taken of practices such as shining bright lights into the eyes of policemen so they cannot see the bricks that are being hurled at them? Does my noble friend agree that there must be responses from the courts which provide a discouragement while one seeks advances in education, employment, investment and so on which may eventually relieve the problem?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I am extremely grateful for my noble friend's question. I saw one news broadcast on Sunday night about those lights; it was the first time I had heard them mentioned. I have not read any press reports or seen photographs of them. No one can say that this was a spontaneous uprising because of disadvantage and so on; clearly, it was planned. To use hand-held devices which look like car headlights deliberately to frustrate the forces of law and order is quite outrageous, and that must be looked at by both the police and the prosecuting authorities.

The Earl of Sandwich

My Lords, does the Minister agree that citizenship education is a relatively new concept which deserves a much higher priority in view of recent events? What is being done in relation to that within the Department for Education, which I know is a separate matter as far as concerns the Minister?

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I entirely agree with the noble Earl that citizenship education should apply to everybody, whether they are newcomers or indigenous. We debated last night in this House, albeit briefly, one of the latest reports on young people. From 2002 in key stage 3 citizenship will be a compulsory part of the education programme. Therefore, planning is now proceeding within the education system for the implementation of that programme.