ABSTRACT

One of the most striking features of the state response to the riots in 2001 was the long sentences handed down to the Bradford rioters. This was part of a centrally sanctioned exercise in the strategic repression of those involved in the riots and their communities. David Blunkett in particular has been very clear about the thinking behind his public pronouncements on the sentencing policy and its consequences. It was not just knee-jerk authoritarian populism, but rather a strategic calculation to teach these communities a lesson in law and order'. The strategic intent of deterrence is transparent with the consequence being a kind of collective punishment and community criminalization. Some people saw the sentencing as fair and reasonable. The shaming of the community through the use of wanted posters' was strongly criticized as having racist tones, given the high value placed on family honour by many South Asians.