A mathematical model of the policing of the London riots

This study models the development of the 2011 London riots and interaction between police and rioters through ‘probability of arrest’ which alters depending on ratios of police to rioters at a scene. The authors use deprivation as part of spatial analysis to shed light on why some areas were more affected by rioting than others.

As seen below in chart (b), the authors created an IMD lorenz curve to compare inequality of deprivation with the riot locations. Here 1 = most deprived and they note that “a disproportionately high number of offences occurred in more deprived areas (approximately 50% within the 20% most deprived).”


They also observed that rioters tended to live in areas of high deprivation. Chart (c) shows the average proportion of riot suspects for groups of LSOAs ordered by deprivation (1 = ‘most deprived’ on the x axis)

A key finding was that “the most deprived areas acted disproportionately as both origins and destinations” for rioting, a statistical effect that persisted when the factors were controlled for each other.


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