England riots: Fightback under way, says PM


Police try to tackle masked youths in Manchester

The prime minister has said the "fightback" is under way, after cities in England suffered a fourth night of violence and looting.

David Cameron said every action would be taken to restore order, with contingency plans for water cannon to be available at 24 hours' notice.

On Tuesday night, unrest spread to cities including Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham.

Three men protecting property died when they were hit by a car in Birmingham.

Haroon Jahan, 21, Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, who were from the Asian Muslim community, were taken to hospital but died from their injuries.

Mr Cameron said the deaths were "truly dreadful" and offered his condolences to the men's families.

Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Musavir Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Musavir were protecting property, residents say

A candle-lit vigil, attended by some 200 people, took place in Birmingham for the men. The BBC's Jeremy Cooke said it was entirely peaceful.

Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood had appealed for calm, telling a community meeting it was important people did not take matters into their own hands.

Meanwhile, rioters in Manchester and Salford have been told that they face being evicted from their council homes if they are identified on CCTV footage.

Both city councils have issued warnings that if any of their tenants or their children have been involved in violence or looting they will be "thrown out".

Greenwich Council also says it will be seeking the eviction of any council tenants if they are found to have been engaged in criminal activities.

Map of riots across England

Earlier, the prime minister said police had the legal backing to use any tactics necessary to bring the rioting across England under control, including using baton rounds.

Speaking after a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee, he said: "This continued violence is simply not acceptable, and it will be stopped.

"We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets."

But Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) president Sir Hugh Orde ruled out using water cannon or baton rounds for now, saying the tactics were not suited to the current unrest.

"Water cannon are used to deal with fixed crowds to buy distance," he said.

"The evidence... is showing very clearly these are fast-moving crowds, where water cannon would not be appropriate."

He added that baton rounds would only be deployed when his officers' lives were under serious threat.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May told the BBC she had ordered all police forces in England and Wales to mobilise special constables, cancel leave and adopt a "tough, robust approach".

Six forces have requested assistance for Wednesday evening, according to Acpo, which is co-ordinating resources in England and Wales.

They are Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police, Nottinghamshire, and West Midlands.


Sitting in the dock in a blue tracksuit top, the 11-year-old boy was barely big enough to see over the wooden ledge into the main body of the courtroom.

But, according to the prosecution, the child had been among the hundreds arrested in connection with the rioting in London over the past few nights.

He was the youngest to appear at Highbury on Wednesday, and admitted taking a wastepaper basket from a branch of Debenhams in Romford, which was looted by rioters.

Others brought before magistrates included a man who works in a primary school, a student and a convicted drug dealer. Nearly all will be sentenced at crown courts which have the powers to impose tougher penalties.

The 11-year-old is due at a youth court at the end of the month. Despite his tender age, he spent last night in a police cell. He's been told to observe a curfew between 18:00 and 06:00 until his fate is decided.

Earlier, Mr Cameron said: "We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain - the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations.

"There are pockets of our society that are not just broken, but are frankly sick.

"It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities and their actions do not have consequences. Well, they do have consequences."

The Met Police has made 820 arrests and charged 279 people in connection with violence in the capital.

In London, three courts will stay open all night on Wednesday to deal with some of the scores of people facing mainly disorder and burglary charges after four nights of rioting.

In other developments:

Mr Cameron said anyone convicted of violent disorder would be sent to prison.

London mayor Boris Johnson urged the government to reconsider its "pretty frail" plans to cut police numbers, saying the argument had been "substantially weakened" by the riots.

And Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said agreed, adding the plans needed to be reconsidered.

"It is staggering and utterly shameful if it has taken these appalling events for ministers to start waking up to what everyone else has known all along," she said.

"Cutting 16,000 officers - the equivalent of every officer on the streets of London last night - at a time like this is deeply irresponsible."

But the Home Office said the reductions in the police budget were manageable.

At a press conference, Greater Manchester Police's Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said he had seen "the most sickening scenes" of his career, and said the force had been overwhelmed.

Forces requesting help on Wed night

  • Avon and Somerset
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greater Manchester Police
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Nottinghamshire
  • West Midlands

Source: Acpo

Some 113 people have been arrested so far over the trouble in Manchester and Salford, where hundreds of youths looted shops and set fire to cars and buildings.

He said the force was "absolutely intent" on bringing the rioters to justice and his officers were already studying CCTV.

"Hundreds and hundreds of people, we have your image, we have your face, we have your acts of wanton criminality on film. We are coming for you, from today and no matter how long it takes, we will arrest those people responsible," he said.

In the West Midlands, 163 people had been arrested by Wednesday morning, and police chiefs say at the height of the disorder it was at a rate of about one person per minute.

Chief Constable Chris Sims said it was "another very difficult night" in Birmingham and across the region, with gangs of up to 40 people and "limited disorder" in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

The riots first flared on Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, by police.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1231.

    My memory goes back to the Paris riots in 1968. Admittedly the acts of disorder were of a more political nature then, but faced with the likelihood of collapse and ensuing anarchy, the Government of Charles de Gaulle was saved by the massive peaceful demonstrations of support that ensued. Surely time for the British majority to do likewise through a co-ordinated show of solidarity

  • rate this

    Comment number 1230.

    I abhor violence and theft but I tend to agree with Prof David Wilson - 'The rioters will never be won over by lectures on morality from a political elite that has promoted rampant greed, commercialism and entitlement, as reflected by Banker's Bonuses and MP's expenses.In one sense the looters are simply endorsing the values of our age.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 1229.

    I notice the majority of post blame the unemployed for the riots yet the first person convicted of burglary was a primary school worker.

    So please make of what you will

  • rate this

    Comment number 1228.


    We could cut nothing, bankrupt the country and make everyone poor. Then everyone can rob from anyone. Would that be your solution?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1227.

    1098 Richard

    If I recall rightly, the first person in the dock was a male teaching assistant, working in a primary school. He entered a plea of guilty to the charges placed before him, and was referred on to Crown Court, which suggests that (a) he was caught bang to rights and (b) he was caught doing something fairly serious. Where is the "delicious irony" in that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1226.

    People who think the riots weren't making a political point are only half right. These riots are a political point in themselves. Our society is predicated on a 'getting away with it' mentality. Bankers walking away with millions and politicians fiddling expenses are 'getting away with it'. The only difference is these are people at the bottom of society and their methods are more crude.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1225.

    "One man pleaded guilty to the theft of two Burberry T-shirts - a small amount in terms of monetary value - but the effect of a criminal conviction of that sort on a person's life and career is enormous." BBC website article.

    What about the fear of those terrorised, beaten to get property, the shop staff who could be laid off, the police attacked? Is there suffering irrelevant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1224.

    For too long criminals have been left to get away with seriouis crime in this country. The police are doing everything they can with the power they have, the trouble is their hands are tied for fear of upsetting the 'human rights' lot. Anyone committing a serious crime in the Country gives up all their human rights, where are the human rights of the victims these morons ruin the lives of...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1223.

    The usual pathetic posters are out in force trying to pin the blame on labour or the imaginary left wing bias of the bbc oblivious to the fact that we only get these riots when their tory friends are in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1222.

    Let the Courts be REQUIRED to publish the details of EVERYONE found guilty of taking part in these riots so that they can be publicly identified. They're not entitled to anonymity. When a YOUTH is found guilty, let him be identified as "the son of Mr & Mrs X of (address)". It is said there there has been no parental attempt to control these youths. So let the parents also be named and shamed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1221.

    mark duggans death is not the reason for all the violence since saturdays initial outburst but it is surely the spark that lit the fuse from that day on.if people have nothing to look forward to then they have nothing to hold them back.if they have nothing worthwhile to lose then they only have something to gain.people with jobs, prospects, money and dignity do not riot.opportunism breeds greed

  • rate this

    Comment number 1220.

    Mr Cameron said...."It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities and their actions do not have consequences. Well, they do have consequences."

    He should have said this over MP's expenses and also of the fat-cat bankers!!!! (But, I do not condone this violence)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1219.

    283.Dave Mazzetti
    A good idea perhaps they should also be free to beat a speeding motorist over the head after all if they say he was speeding he was in your world. Following your idea Ian Tomlinson was guilty after all he was where the rioters were and so in your world where the police are always right... he must of got what he deserved just like all the thugs you want beaten. (some are).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1218.


    23 Minutes ago

    25 Minutes ago
    i tust that every person's home, who has been arrested, will be searched, and if any items are found to be stolen then the parents will also be prosecuted


    For what crime??


    Aiding and abetting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1217.


    How long did that exercise in jealousy take you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1216.

    Where are the parents of those young monsters? I hate stress less raising. I was growing up in Poland (when I was bad my punish was good enough to understand my mistakes), when I came here it was shock for me. 10-15 year old guys have no respect to older people. Ignoring Police etc. That kind of youngsters should go to army for at least one year - to teach them discipline.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1215.

    Part of the reason for all this yobbery and violence is illustrated perfectly by the news today that one of the first yobs to be prosecuted for looting and theft was given a one day sentence. Because he had already been in custody for that time he was allowed to walk free from the court. I feel sorry for the people who suffered at the hands of these yobs - they will never receive justice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1214.


    29 Minutes ago

    Hold the Press. There are rich people in the world. Thats it, i'm off to steal 20 identical sports shirts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1213.

    The people who have commit these crimes and caught will be out within the year...in saudi arabia there hands would be cut off our laws are a joke

  • rate this

    Comment number 1212.

    Don't know what's worse - the toe rags that riot for no reason or the rubbish that gets spouted afterwards.


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