Cameron admits to police lapses

This videograb shows Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron making a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday.  

Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday admitted that police got their tactics wrong in handling the London riots but denied that they were under instructions to go slow following criticism of heavy-handed policing on previous occasions.

“There were simply far too few police deployed on to our streets and the tactics they were using weren't working,'' he said during an emergency debate in the House of Commons which was recalled from summer recess.

His remarks came as for the first time since the violence erupted at the weekend no major incident was reported until late afternoon though tension remained.

More than 1,500 people have been arrested and some 400-odd charged with violence, disorder and looting.

A day after handing unprecedented sweeping powers to the police to deal with the situation, he said the government would do “whatever it takes” to restore order as MPs expressed concern over the effect of the riots on community relations and called for long sentences to be given to those found guilty.

Police have been given powers to use plastic bullets and controversial water cannons previously deployed in Northern Ireland.

They would also be able to force people to remove face masks.

Mr. Cameron rejected attempts to link the riots with social deprivation and unemployment in the Afro-Caribbean community or to the cuts in public spending on youth and social welfare programmes.

“This is not about poverty, it's about culture. A culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities,'' he said.

He said a “lawless minority'' was behind the violence and warned : “We will track you down, we will find you, we will charge you, we will punish you. You will pay for what you have done.''

Mr. Cameron rejected demands for an independent public inquiry into Britain's worst riots in 25 years that are seen to have damaged the country's image barely months before the London Olympics.

The Home Affairs Select Committee had already decided to investigate it and if necessary “we could take it from there'', he said adding he was not ruling out anything.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:04:01 AM |

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