The Government has unveiled a central compensation bureau for those without adequate insurance affected by last week's nationwide riots.

The unit, established yesterday, will handle enquiries from residents and businesses, and will decide the validity of claims. Money will be paid by local police authorities, though the Home Office will provide the necessary funding.

Key Points

  • Central claims bureau set up
  • Applications deadline extended to 42 days
  • Check insurance policy first

Previously, consumers were told to apply to their local police authority (see the Riot compensation news story).

Under the Riot (Damages) Act, consumers affected by last week's riots can claim compensation from the police if their property, be it commercial or residential, was damaged, or any contents stolen or damaged.

The Act does not cover damage to cars, personal injury or loss of business.

If you have insurance, the Home Office and the insurance industry advise you to claim via your insurer or broker first.

The centralised scheme is mainly to help those uninsured or those whose insurance doesn't cover all claims.

How to claim

  • First, download a compensation form via Directgov and complete it.

  • For guidance, or if you have any enquiries, contact the bureau's claims department on 0845 641 4925 or email

  • Once the form is complete, post it to PO Box 26948, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 9DP.

The deadline for applications under the Act has been extended from 14 to 42 days from the incident.

What happens next?

Once the claim is made, the bureau will house the experts who determine if it is genuine or not, and how much to pay.

However, it is ultimately up to the local police authority to determine whether or not to accept that decision.

The relevant authority will contact claimants to advise of the decision and, where appropriate, will make payments.

The Government is unable to give a time-frame for how long claims will take given different claims require different amounts of scrutiny.