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UK riots: Trouble erupts in English cities

  • 10 August 2011
  • From the section UK
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Sporadic violence has broken out in several cities around England, although London stayed largely quiet overnight.

There was unrest in cities including Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham, with shops being looted and set alight.

Three men died when they were hit by a car in Birmingham - locals claimed they were protecting their neighbourhood.

Greater Manchester Police's assistant chief constable said officers had faced "unprecedented levels of violence".

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

GMP's ACC Garry Shewan said he had seen "the most sickening scenes" of his career, and said the force had been overwhelmed.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning he said GMP was "absolutely intent" on bringing the rioters to justice and 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.

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.

Three dead

In the West Midlands, 109 have been arrested and 23 charged following scenes of disorder in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich - where vehicles were set on fire.

Meanwhile, West Midlands Police have started a murder inquiry after the deaths of the three pedestrians hit by a car.

In Birmingham, riot police surrounded the Mailbox, the city's upmarket shopping centre, following the disturbances seen in the area on Monday night.

In other developments:

Wounded officers

Scotland Yard drafted in special constables and community support officers in London to ensure five times the usual number of officers for a Tuesday - 16,000 - were on duty. They made 81 arrests.

Downing Street said the increased level of policing would remain in place "as long as necessary" to prevent a repeat of the violence.

It said while there was "no complacency," police tactics in London had "clearly worked".

It followed three nights of rioting in the city which saw shops looted, property set alight and police attacked, with some 111 Met officers suffered injuries including serious head and eye wounds, cuts and fractured bones after being attacked by rioters wielding bottles, planks, bricks and even driving cars at them. Five police dogs have also been hurt.

The Met's Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Stephen Kavanagh said London deserved "some resilience and sustainability from police".

'Stand together'

David Cameron, who is chairing a meeting of the cabinet's emergency committee Cobra for the second day running, met officers in the Met Police's Gold command in Lambeth on Tuesday afternoon, before speaking to emergency service personnel in Croydon.

He condemned the "sickening scenes of people looting, vandalising, thieving, robbing".

He told rioters: "You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment."

Parliament was being recalled on Thursday, which would allow MPs to "stand together in condemnation of these crimes and to stand together in determination to rebuild these communities", he said.

The prime minister returned early from his holiday in Tuscany to discuss the unrest, which first flared on Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, by police.

London has seen a wave of "copycat criminal activity" since the initial disturbance, the Met Police said.

DAC Kavanagh said the use of plastic bullets - never before fired to deal with riots in England - would be "considered carefully" in the event of further disorder.

But he added: "That does not mean we are scared of using any tactic."

Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin had earlier ruled out calling in the Army.

Officers believe some rioters have used Blackberry Messenger - a service allowing users to send free real-time messages - to organise violence.

Referring to proposed police cuts, London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "That case was pretty frail and it's been substantially weakened. This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers."

Labour leader Ed Miliband called for a "rapid response" from the government to help affected communities.

He urged the government to work with the insurance industry "to put in place fast-track procedures with immediate effect so that individuals and businesses making claims do not have to wait for the money they need to start putting things right".

The Association of British Insurers says the damage is likely to cost insurers "tens of millions of pounds".

Monday's disturbances included:

The Association of British Insurers says the damage is likely to cost insurers "tens of millions of pounds".

Monday's violence started in Hackney, north London, at about 16:20 BST after a man was stopped and searched by police, who found nothing.

Groups of people began attacking officers, wrecking cars with wooden poles and metal bars, and looting shops. Violence then flared separately in other parts of the capital.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who also cut short a holiday to return, was heckled by the members of the public while viewing damage in Clapham Junction on Tuesday.

Some people have complained there have been too few police to deal with the violence.

Mr Johnson told those gathered that those responsible for the violence "face punishment they will bitterly, bitterly regret".

However, when challenged to do more for communities, Mr Johnson rejected "economic or social justifications" for the violence.

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