THE Riot (Damages) Act 1886 rarely looms large in the legal imagination. It is brief and apparently straightforward. Section 2(1) of the Act obliges police authorities to compensate owners whose property has been damaged by “persons riotously and tumultuously assembled together” in their area. There is, notably, no requirement to show that the police were at fault. Two appellate cases on the Act arose from disturbances at the Yarl's Wood detention centre in 2002 (see D.J. Feldman  C.L.J. 433). The London (and nationwide) riots of 2011 have occasioned further consideration.