Manchester and Salford riots: Arrests 'difficult' in riot gear

Riot officer in Manchester
Image caption Insp Bob Cantrell said it would be nice for officers to have better protective equipment

A police officer on duty during riots in Manchester and Salford on Tuesday has said outdated heavy protective gear made it "difficult" to make arrests.

Insp Bob Cantrell, of Greater Manchester Police, said that when faced with violent youths wearing trainers, it was "very difficult to catch them".

His comments came after criticisms that police had not done enough.

Speaking about future police cuts, he said he hoped the government would be "there for us".

Mr Cantrell said: "Some of the kit is what I've had for 17 years.

"There are lighter, better things on the market now, but they cost money.

"It would be nice to have better protective equipment and something we could run faster in that would offer better protection and wouldn't be as hot."

Police riot gear includes shields and body armour, including thigh and shoulder guards.

Mr Cantrell said he was dehydrated following the riots, despite drinking two litres of water.

'Very dangerous'

"We did catch people looting shops and people were arrested for burglary," he said.

"When you're faced with someone who's wearing potentially £100 trainers, jogging bottoms, and has potentially taken drugs it's very difficult to catch them."

Greater Manchester Police has not yet commented on Mr Cantrell's remarks.

Mr Cantrell added: "The people who turned out on Tuesday with me without fail did what I asked them to do and it's only when you look back on it that you realise that day was really very dangerous.

"We've been there for the government. I hope in the next few weeks and months that the government is there for us."

Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, Graham Stringer, has said he felt Greater Manchester Police had not done enough to prepare for the rioting in Manchester and Salford.

He said: "The police knew it was coming. It was co-ordinated and organised by well-known criminals and gangsters."

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Shewan said more than 1,000 officers had been deployed on Tuesday night. However, he admitted the force was "overwhelmed" by the number of rioters.

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