Officers back from riot duty

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A TEAM of Lancashire police officers is back home after helping restore calm during the London riots.

The 76 officers, drawn from across the county including Blackpool, spent almost a week in the capital after being deployed at the height of the unrest.

Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham

Riot police look on as fire rages through a building in Tottenham

They patrolled areas including Croyden, Brixton and Oxford Street in the aftermath of the country’s worst riots in 30 years.

Chief Insp Gary Crowe said their role had been to reassure the public and provide a police presence as order was restored.

He said; “We had one injury to an officer while we were down there but thankfully that was not very serious. We have a lot of very tired officers who are glad to be home.

“Initially our deployment was in the commercial centre of London where we were reassuring members of the public the police were back in control.

“There was a tense atmosphere in some communities but the support for the police in London as a whole was very good. The important police presence that was put in place sought to quell a lot of the disorder.

“The fact we were able to go down and engage with communities, provide reassurance and act as a visible police presence meant the action was a success.”

Chief Insp Crowe added the deployment did not affect policing in Lancashire.

Among the officers making up the team was PC Jacqui Fitzpatrick, based at Blackpool Central Police Station.

She said: “We were mostly involved with reassuring the public, patrolling neighbourhoods and we also carried out a drugs raid with officers from the Metropolitan Police.

“The unrest had calmed down by the time we arrived but we heard from colleagues in the Met about having bricks and bottles thrown at them.

“Everyone was a bit nervous about going as we didn’t know how long we were going to be there or what was going to happen but we really wanted to help our colleagues out.

“I had certainly not experienced anything like that during my time in Blackpool.”

More Lancashire officers are expected to be sent to London with another group of 30 scheduled to travel to the capital at the weekend, and further deployments as the situation is reviewed.