Time for zero tolerance to street crime: British PM

August 14th, 2011 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Aug 14 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron, faced with one of the worst riots to hit the country, has told police it was time for a “zero tolerance approach” to street crime.

The prime minister - in an interview with The Telegraph - promised a series of tough measures, to be unveiled soon, to fight crime and “reclaim the streets” from rioters, looters and gangs.

The “zero tolerance” policy was popularised in the US, where even minor offences were prosecuted vigorously to send out the message that no form of law-breaking would be tolerated.

Cameron has recruited Bill Bratton, a former chief of police in New York and Los Angeles, to advise him on his efforts to end the violence.

The prime minister has already approved the use of water cannon if needed to quell violence.

Police will also be allowed to order rioters to remove face coverings.

Scotland Yard said it has arrested a total of 1,276 people. Of those, 748 have been charged.

West Midlands Police have arrested 509, while Greater Manchester Police have arrested 208.

Cameron also pledged to help “strengthen families”. He said there were around 100,000 “deeply broken and troubled” families in Britain and bemoaned the lack of male role models in the society.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier disclosed that the government would commission an independent research into the collapse of public order.

The research was necessary to provide “evidence”, Clegg said.

“Why did some areas and people explode and others not? What can we learn from those neighbourhoods and young people who remained peaceful? We need to know what kind of people the rioters were, and why they did it,” he said.

“That is also why we are looking into gang culture, so that we can combat it more effectively. In policy-making, as in war, it is important to know your enemy.”

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