AN ILKESTON police officer, who was one of 22 from Derbyshire called on to help the Metropolitan Police keep order on the streets of London last week, has blasted the ‘senseless destruction’ he witnessed.
But amid the worst violence in the capital in a generation, Pc Chris Buckland, who has served Ilkeston for six years, said the people of London showed resilience and were grateful to him and his colleagues from forces across the country for their help.
Pc Buckland was stationed mostly in Camden from last Tuesday but at one point during the three days, he was stood by the Reeves furniture store which was burned to the ground in Tottenham.
“I had been watching this building burn on my TV at home in Mansfield only 24 hours earlier,” he said.
“This brought it home to me how much damage had been caused and for no apparent gain.
“This building being burnt did not achieve anything other than to put people’s lives at risk.
“It was the sheer senseless destruction which caused us all to realise how volatile certain elements of our society can be.”
The former beat officer for Cotmanhay and Shipley View got the call at 1.50am on Tuesday that he would be sent to the capital from Derby at 6am.
“My initial reaction was one of excitement at being called upon to assist my nation’s capital,” he said.
“Having seen the news I was expecting long hours, confrontation and some confusion. I was not nervous but more curious as to what the coming days would hold for me.”
The first shift for his team of six constables and a sergeant was 24 hours long and by the time they finally got some rest, they had not slept for 40 hours.
He said: “Working while tired was probably the biggest challenge but everyone rose to the occasion.
“The first day saw us going from location to location, disembarking and forming lines with shields and moving on to another location to repeat the manoeuvre.
“By this point, London had suffered three days of riots and a lot of their public order officers were exhausted.”
Their patrols on Wednesday and Thursday were quieter, involving patrols on foot to reassure the community.
Reflecting on the riots, Pc Buckland, who said he would have volunteered to help had he not been asked, said: “I would recommend that they take a look at what they have done and how it has hurt the economy.
“They may not realise now, as some of them are young, but was it all worth it for an iPad and some computer games?
“As for the older people involved in the disorder, they should have known better.”