The 1985 Handsworth Riots: 30 years on

Daylight reveals the full extent of the devastation in the Handsworth area of Birmingham as two policemen survey the damage. Credit: PA

Today marks 30 years since the second round of serious riots in the Birmingham district of Handsworth during the 9th to 11th of September 1985.

The disturbances were reportedly sparked by the arrest of a man near the Acapulco Cafe, Lozells and a police raid on the Villa Cross public house in the same area.

Hundreds of people attacked police and property, looting and smashing, even setting off fire bombs.Two brothers Kassamali Moledina, 38, and his 44-year-old brother Amirali) were burnt to death in the post office that they ran.

Two other people were unaccounted for, 35 others injured, more than 1500 police officers drafted into the area, about 45 shops looted and burnt, and a trail of damage running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The area became notorious with continued rioting over the course of two decades. Rioting erupted in Handsworth in 1981 and followed again in 1985.

Six years later, more widespread disturbances took place in 1991 and barely 10 years ago, areas of Birmingham including Handsworth and Lozells were hit by more race riots.

A pall of smoke hangs over Handsworth as police with riot shields move in. Credit: PA

Before the riots Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing, though according to historians, local Black British youths later disputed the claim that relations between them and the police had been amicable: around 40% of them had been stopped and searched over the previous 12 months.

An aerial view of Lozells Road in Birmingham, showing firemen in the process of recovering the bodies of two Asians in a burned out sub-post office after rioting broke out. Credit: PA