England riots: Scottish police to aid disorder efforts

Police in Manchester
Image caption A Miss Selfridge shop on fire in Manchester city centre

Police from Scotland have been sent to England to help combat riots and disorder in cities across the country.

A total of 250 riot-trained officers have been sent as part of the mutual aid scheme between the countries.

First Minister Alex Salmond said there was an obligation to help, but Scotland would not be left unprotected, with more than 17,000 police officers available for duty.

Clear-up operations have been taking place in cities in England.

On Tuesday night, unrest spread to Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham, with shops being looted and set alight.

Acpos said Scottish officers were helping their colleagues in the Midlands and north of England.

Spokesman David Steele said equipment and vehicles, as well as extra manpower, were being sent from all eight of Scotland's forces.

Mr Steele said: "The situation is being constantly monitored between Acpos and colleagues in England and any further assistance required will be given careful consideration."

Acpos president, Chief Constable Kevin Smith, said: "While the current situation in England is unprecedented, the sharing of resources is not, as we have seen in the past through events such as G8.

"I would like to make it clear that the vast majority of our 17,000 plus officers remain in Scotland and we are very much in 'business as usual' mode.

Image caption Grampian police vans head south to join English forces tackling disorder

"Through day-to-day business - such as community policing -we are constantly gathering information, assessing the situation, and - as you will have already seen - we will take swift action when required.

"There is nothing to suggest that similar incidents to those we have seen in England will arise here in Scotland, but we are not complacent and I can assure you that our response will be robust if required."

London remained largely quiet overnight after extra resources were drafted in to protect the capital, but unrest broke out in a number of other cities, with shops being looted and set alight.

The outbreaks of violence began in London after a 29-year-old man was shot dead by police in Tottenham on Saturday.

Mr Salmond told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Obviously we've got an obligation to help if we can and that's what's being done."

The first minister said meetings had taken place in Scotland to assess how to deal with any problems if they arose in Scotland, but added that he thought it was unhelpful to portray events as UK riots.

Scotland Office minister David Mundell said Mr Salmond's tone was "unhelpful" and he accused the first minister of "trying to make political capital out of a terrible situation".