No repeat of copycat violence
“A pathetic attempt to follow London”. That’s the view of three Salfordians on last year’s riots which tarnished the image of teenagers and their town.
Violence and looting saw shops from cobblers to travel agents targeted in the Shopping City area of the city with the post office closed – leaving residents unable to collect their pensions. Much of the blame for the rioting was attached to local youngsters, which left Chelsea Downs dismayed.
“I’m not the type of person who would ever get involved” says the 19 year-old who lives a few miles from the scene of the rioting in Little Hulton. “It was nasty on the people that work there. Some of those doing it were Uni students who weren’t even from around here.”
Chelsea Downs, Tom Mellor and Sarah Morris
Chelsea wants to work in retail so could relate to the suffering small shops endured. “I am worried about how hard it is to get a job around here” she said, “and with cuts to EMA and pensions, I think people might use these as excuses to do it again.”
Winton based Sarah Morris believes the tough sentences meted-out in 2011 might deter potential rioters. The 18-year-old is still angry about last year’s violence and the effect it had on her community and the reputation of young people. “I can’t believe people who live in Salford would want to destroy it” said the Business Administration student. “Older people have begun to look down on us now. They were friendly before, now you don’t get the time of day.”
Some cited tensions between police and local youngsters as the cause of the violence, but would-be mechanic Tom Mellor put a spanner into those works. “Most of my friends respect the police” said the 18 year-old whose granddad was in the Force, “and they should be given more support. For some people, hardship was just an excuse to get involved.”
Two other students at Rathbone’s Walkden base warned that any attempt by the police to get heavy handed could make matters worse. One 17 year-old said: “One guy getting shot in London caused it all. If the police used too much force it could all go up again.”
Tom (who recently worked with his uncle in the TT pits at the Isle of Man) Chelsea and Sarah are hoping this summer proves far more peaceful. And along with many others in the friendly city of Salford, they just want to get on with their lives and achieve their ambitions.