THE Government has unveiled proposals to improve the law that failed the victims of the Croydon riots. Policing minister Damian Green wants to modernise the more than 125-year-old Riot Damages Act (1886) and make it faster and more flexible. Many victims of the 2011 riots in Croydon and across the country struggled or failed to get compensation under the outdated law – which does not even cover damage to vehicles. The Government is now consulting on proposals developed following an independent review of the legislation, which recognises that property damaged in riots should be compensated for by the responsible public authority. The proposals include providing 'new for old' replacements for destroyed or damaged goods; increasing the time limit in which people can make claims; allowing electronic claims; and including compensation for damage to vehicles. The Home Office also wants to cap the amount insurance companies can reclaim from the government, saying this will reduce the cost on the taxpayer. Mr Green said: "No-one wants to see a repeat of the 2011 riots in Croydon. The criminality and violence inflicted on innocent communities was deplorable. "However, we in Government need to make sure that the right measures are in place to protect the public if the worst happens again." Noting the capping proposal would make large-turnover businesses ineligible for compensation, he added: "Of course there will be opposition to some of our ideas. "[...] But this proposal will limit the burden on the taxpayer – it is not unreasonable to expect businesses with a high annual turnover to have their own insurance in place." He added that, should widespread riots happen again, the Home Office planned to set up a special office to handle claims as efficiently as possible. He continued: "I hope we will never again see the wanton violence we witnessed in August 2011. "But this Government is committed to protecting our communities. "Today's announcement is a significant step to making sure we have a safety net in place if those terrible events are ever repeated." The consultation will continue for eight weeks, closing on August 1. For further information, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reform-of-the-riot-damages-act
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