Police and People in London was published in the aftermath of the Brixton riot of 1981 and reflected the prominence that public order policing had suddenly acquired. That riot had propelled the simmering hostility between the police and young black men up the political agenda and this issue was the prime focus of the reports. The Brixton riot also marked a profound change in public order policing: following decades of quiescence, disenchantment had violently erupted on the streets. The police were ill-equipped either to prevent or contain this situation.