"Bleeding, I called 999. A tired man told me to go home."

Bleeding a little, I thought I might as well call 999. It was a recorded message. After four and a half minutes, a tired man answered. “There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “You know what’s going on. We have to give priority to saving people’s lives. I suggest you just go home.”

He was right, of course. I was in Hackney – which, that evening at least, was a law-free zone. That’s the worst thing about riots. Across much of London on Monday night, if someone had decided to break down your door and rape your daughter, there would have been nothing to stop them. There would have been no one to call.