9:00pm Monday 20 August on BBC TWO
Last summer, England suffered the worst riots in a generation. This series gives dramatic, first-hand accounts from those who were on the frontline – the rioters and the police.
Both episodes of The Riots: In Their Own Words were originally scheduled to be shown in July. Their broadcast was prevented by a Court Order made by a Judge presiding over a trial in Birmingham. Although neither film contained any reference to the incident at the centre of the trial, the BBC was unable to persuade the Judge to lift the order. The ruling stopped them being screened until a verdict was reached. That has now happened so the programmes can be shown.
With fresh access to serving officers, part two tells the story from the point of view of the police who held the thin blue line between lawfulness and anarchy as our streets descended into chaos.
The film hears from the Inspector who held the line against the mob in Tottenham without back up for four hours and the WPC in Brixton whose van was attacked by rioters and colleague was injured with a machete.
The rookie officer sent to the riots in Hackney on his first day in the job tells of his experience and the programme hears from the transport police officer who rescued a woman from a burning building in the absence of the fire brigade.
Their testimony gives a unique insight into those five days and looks at the challenges the police faced. How much force should they have used? Why do some feel so alienated by the police? What should the priorities be with limited resources?
The second film draws its material from fresh interviews by the programme-makers with serving officers and exclusive access to previously unseen police footage. Many people criticised the police following the riots – now they tell their side of the story.