London riots: Increased police numbers to remain

The increased police presence on London's streets will remain in place, the prime minister has pledged.

The number of officers was increased from 6,000 to 16,000 on Tuesday night after widespread rioting on Monday.

David Cameron said the "more robust approach" had prevented a repeat of the most serious trouble.

A total of 820 people have been arrested by the Met Police in connection with violence, disorder and looting, and 279 have been charged.

Mr Cameron said contingency plans were in place for water cannon to be available at 24 hours' notice and that police had authority to use baton rounds.

After chairing a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee, the prime minister added: "We will not do anything that will reduce the amount of visible policing on our streets."

A number of businesses closed early on Tuesday, shop windows were boarded up, and the streets were mainly deserted in fear of a fourth night of violence.

But Mr Cameron said: "I do not want London to be in permanent lockdown or shut down.

"I want London to go back to being the thriving, bustling, international success story, wonderful city that it is."

Wednesday night remained relatively trouble free although officers in Eltham were pelted with missiles.

The Met said the group had been dispersed by 22:00 BST.

Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Tim Godwin said the number of officers on patrol would remain the same and would stay at that level for as long as necessary.

And as a result of the riots the Home Office has extended the deadline for applications for the post of Metropolitan Commissioner from Friday to 17 August.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Boris Johnson said the "pretty frail" case for cutting police numbers had been "substantially weakened" following the riots.

'No complacency'

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Media captionSouthall Sikhs stand against rioters

Courts sat through the night on Tuesday for first appearances of people charged in connection with the riots.

The youngest of the defendants was an 11-year-old boy who admitted being part of a gang of youths who looted the Debenhams store in Romford, east London, on Monday night.

The boy, from Romford, pleaded guilty to burglary after stealing a waste bin worth £50.

On Tuesday one man who admitted burglary was jailed for 26 weeks while another was given a 12-month conditional discharge for obstructing an officer.

A third man was made to pay a £50 fine plus £85 court costs after admitting using threatening words.

Minor scuffles

In some parts of London on Tuesday night local people took to the streets to protect their neighbourhoods from the looters.

In Southall, west London, Sikh men from the Sri Guru Singh Sabha temple gathered to protect the area.

Groups also gathered in Eltham, south-east London, and there was a "reclaim the streets" march in Enfield, north London.

Image caption The Reeves furniture store was destroyed after being set on fire on Monday

There was also a stand-off at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, in west London, when some inmates refused to leave the gym, but the Ministry of Justice said the situation was resolved in hours.

Meanwhile, south-east London's Greenwich Council said it would seek to evict council tenants if they were found to have been engaged in criminal activities linked to the rioting.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg backed the idea of removing council tenants convicted of rioting from their homes.

He said: "If you go around trashing other people's property on your street, I don't think you should continue to be supported in living in a property on that street."

A man, 21, remains in police custody on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life over a fire which destroyed the family-run Reeves furniture store in Croydon on Monday.

The charred remains of the building were razed to the ground.

And a 26-year-old man who died after being found shot in a car during riots in Croydon on Monday night has been named as Trevor Ellis, of Brixton Hill.

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