A community blighted by drugs and gun crime...
It is perhaps no coincidence that Mark Duggan, the man whose death sparked scenes of violence and looting in Tottenham on Saturday, lived in Broadwater Farm – the crucible of rioting 26 years ago.
But while many of those involved in the weekend’s unrest were not even been born when the previous riots took place, many of the social problems remain unchanged.
The north London community forms the core of the London Borough of Haringey, one of the most deprived areas in Britain, blighted by gang culture, drugs and gun crime.
Police have for decades fought in vain to counter the area’s numerous postcode gangs – most notably Tottenham Mandem – whose feuding and drugs wars have resulted in scores of deaths.
In the past year alone, the Metropolitan Police has had to tackle 88 gun crime offences in the area – down from 141 the year before – and dealt with eight murders. The borough sees around 5,000 violent offences committed annually.
While all illegal substances are readily available on Tottenham’s streets, it is the heroin trade which has put the area on Britain’s crime map with the so-called Turkish Mafia said to control around 90 per cent of the country’s heroin market.
Ethnically diverse in its social make-up, Tottenham contains one of the largest groups of Afro-Caribbean people. The borough as a whole is more than 50 per cent white, while Afro-Caribbeans account for around a quarter with Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Asian residents making up the rest of the population.
While shaping its identity as a multicultural area, the rich tapestry of its inhabitants has also created friction, manifesting itself, not least, in the Broadwater Farm riot of 1985.
Today, Haringey’s ethnic groups face an uneasy relationship with more than 100 racist or religious based hate crimes committed in the past year, while there were 223 recorded in the 12 months up to June 2010.
Underpinning Tottenham’s crime statistics is a host of social and economic problems, despite millions of pounds being poured into tackling them.
Teenage pregnancy rates in the borough are among the highest in Britain, with around 53 girls aged 15 to 17 in every 1,000 becoming pregnant annually.
The local authority’s social services department has come under the spotlight in recent years, most notably over its handling of Baby P, who was tortured to death at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, Steven Barker and Jason Owen at his home in Tottenham.
Tottenham is also facing an unemployment crisis with more than 10,500 out of work and claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.
The area recently failed in its bid to be made one of the government’s economic enterprise zones. The recent riots will not help Tottenham’s struggling economy.
Lord Harris of Peckham, chairman and chief executive of Carpetright – which was targeted by looters in the riots – said: “It's the little entrepreneurs, people who have greengrocers and clothes shops, who I really do feel sorry for. Who is going to shop there now? It's going to take Tottenham a long time to get over it."
By Murray Wardrop and David Millward, The Telegraph
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