On the surface, it might seem a little odd that violence erupted in Enfield tonight. There is no obvious link to the Mark Duggan shooting, and reports suggest that large numbers of quite young people suddenly gathered in the St Andrews Road area and then moved together to target a particular shop. In other words, the rioting seemed very well organised.
It has now emerged that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter might have been used to organise the start of the riots. There are further reports that some residents of Enfield were warned by police early in the afternoon of possible trouble in the area later in the day, suggesting that police had got wind of plans being cooked up online. There would certainly seem to have been an extensive police presence in Enfield prior to the build-up of rioters, suggesting a degree of prior intelligence had been gathered.
If social networks have been used to plan the riots, it’s not too much of a surprise. There will always be groups of people who are keen on civil disobedience campaigns, and social media offers a great opportunity for people to ‘spread the word’. A preliminary scan of Facebook and Twitter suggests that there were suggestions online earlier today about possible events in Enfield. It seems British rioters have finally entered the 21st century.