London riots may mean you are safer staying in the office than going home

eFC logo

Hopefully, it won't continue another night. David Cameron is even now back from Tuscany and has chaired an emergency Cobra meeting. Water cannons may yet be deployed. Police cells in London are full, according to Channel Four News, but prisoners can always be held elsewhere.

The riots, which started off in deprived Tottenham, have reached less deprived Kensington and Fulham, prompting readers of the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle to call for martial law.

In Notting Hill there were rumours of people with machetes last night and of diners being robbed at the Ledbury, a 2 Michelin Starred restaurant on Ledbury Street.

So far, however, the City is unaffected. Although one Labour MP has taken the opportunity to blame bankers , although smoke was rising up beyond Canary Wharf this morning and although RBS shares have plummeted again, London's financial districts are not the focus of the discontent.

None of the banks we spoke to (Barclays Capital, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, RBS, Citigroup, RBS, UBS) were able to comment on whether they have issued employees with any advice on the situation.

Off the record, one said it's business as usual but that their security services are monitoring events carefully and are in close contact with the City of London Police. Another said that given the rioters' focus on residential areas, employees were probably better off staying at work.

"This is just a temporary, transient thing," said the head of HR at one North American bank in the City. "I'd be very surprised if it has a lasting effect."

"This is a riot about trainers," says John Godden, chief executive of hedge fund consultancy IGS Group and usually an exponent of the outflow of hedge funds and their employees to Switzerland. "These things happen. Riots happen in Paris and there have even been demonstrations in Geneva recently - although admittedly they didn't involve fire and looting.

"This is a riot by opportunistic people who've been told they can have anything they like and are taking it," adds Godden. "It has had no impact on financial institutions yet."

With luck this will remain so. If it does and if all the extra police fail to quell disturbances in the suburbs again tonight, the City of London could yet prove the best place to spend some time - at least until the rioters return home to watch their new TVs.

If you have any comments on the riots, or the impression they give you of London - particularly if you're originally from elsewhere, please leave them below.