On the second anniversary of the 2011 Tottenham riots, Haringey’s top policeman said he wants to work with the community to create a more positive image of the area.

During the night of Saturday, August 6, 2011, a riot broke out in Tottenham following a protest outside Tottenham High Road police station.

This led to wide-spread disturbances, including violence, looting, vandalism and arson.

Borough Commander Victor Olisa spoke with the Haringey Independent about what the borough’s police are have learned two years after the riots.

The initial protests were sparked by the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed by police on August 4, 2011. Many feel the shooting has not been fully explained, and an inquest is due to take place in September.

Chief Superintendent Olisa said it is important to create a relationship of trust between the police and the community.

He said: “A lot of people in the area don’t know exactly what it is the police do and most think we just turn up when something bad happens.

“We are not just law enforcers - a lot of the work we do is with the community and it just as much about crime prevention as it is about catching criminals.

“People have a lot of misconceptions about the police which they get from TV or stories they’ve heard and they find reasons not to trust us but I want to change that.

“We need to let the community know we are here for them and they should feel able to hold us to account.”

The borough commander said the image of young people from Tottenham is a bit of cliché and while there may be a few troublemakers, most are good kids.

He said: “The age group during which people are most likely to commit an offence is between 14 and 24 but that is because it is the age where you spend the most amount of time in public places.

“Most people in that age group are doing well at school and achieving great things and we need to hear more about that.

“It is really important that young people feel like they are a part of the community and just being able to debate with people like me – authority figures – is a great way to engage them.”

Last month the Chief Supt Olisa let the young people from Positive Youth News Haringey take over his diary for a day.

He spent time teaching young people about police work and visiting some of the boroughs youth organisations include the basketball club Haringey Hawks.

The head of Haringey police said: “Since the riots it is the narrative that people in Tottenham are thuggish or bad.

“The truth is that this area is no more dangerous than any other and violent crimes can be committed in any London borough but these are always the minority.

“People who don’t live here may have a bad image of the place but the police want to work with community to change that.”