Police got tactics wrong, says Cameron as 1,300 held for riots (Lead)

August 11th, 2011 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Aug 11 (IANS) Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday said police had admitted to getting their riot tactics wrong as over 1,300 people were arrested for the violence in which hooded youths looted shops and set buildings ablaze in parts of England earlier this week.

Addressing the House of Commons, Cameron announced a 10 million-pound package to deal with the damages caused by rioting in various towns and cities.

Violence began Aug 6 in the British capital’s northern district of Tottenham over the Aug 4 fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police. The unrest quickly spread to cities like Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham.

The prime minister said that “keeping people safe is the first duty of government”.

He admitted that when trouble began there were “far too few” police officers deployed and tactics they used had not worked.

Cameron said the police admitted they got their riot tactics wrong.

He noted that the riots were “criminality pure and simple”, but there were “far too few police” on the streets.

More than 1,300 arrests have been made since the unrest began Saturday, reported BBC.

The prime minister told MPs: “There were simply far too few police deployed on to our streets and the tactics they were using weren’t working.”

“Police chiefs have been frank with me about why this happened.

“Initially, the police treated the situation too much as a public order issue - rather than essentially one of crime.

“The truth is that the police have been facing a new and unique challenge with different people doing the same thing - basically looting - in different places all at the same time.”

While police tackled the rioters, vigilante groups set up to fight back rioters in London clashed with police personnel as they tried to mobilise their own forces to deal with the situation.

They defied police orders and vented their anger against officers Wednesday night, The Telegraph reported Thursday.

Riot police were hit with bottles as over 1,000 officers battled with dozens of men on the streets in Eltham, southeast London.

Vigilante groups were set up across the country to fight back rioters hell-bent on destroying or damaging their homes and businesses, The Mirror newspaper said.

Defiant locals, many of them carrying makeshift weapons, patrolled the streets as looting and violence scarred the streets of Britain’s cities, it said.

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