Tuesday 21 February 2017

Cameron confronts UK's 'moral collapse' in riots

James Kirkup in London

Published 15/08/2011 | 05:00

Two suspect aged 15 is arrested in connection with rioting and looting in London last week
Two suspect aged 15 is arrested in connection with rioting and looting in London last week
A 17-year-old suspect arrested by police

DAVID CAMERON will today promise to confront the "moral collapse" in British society that led to last week's riots and try to assert his authority over police chiefs who have publicly attacked him.

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The prime minister, facing unprecedented criticism from the police, will say he has the strength to "take on and defeat" social problems caused by a weak and "demoralised" state.

Mr Cameron will use a speech in his Oxfordshire constituency to underline his personal leadership in dealing with the root causes of last week's violence. Both police and politicians faced criticism for the slow initial response, but Mr Cameron will today declare: "I will not be found wanting".

The aftermath of the disturbances has seen relations between the government and the police sink to a new low. Four police chiefs yesterday made public attacks on Mr Cameron's law-and-order agenda. One chief constable said the prime minister had been "disrespectful" and risks losing the support of the police.

Senior Conservatives hit back by accusing the police of being "out of touch".

Mr Cameron will attempt to rise above the row, offering a damning analysis of Britain's moral decline and promising a raft of reforms in response.

Yesterday, ministers began to set out some of those changes, signalling moves to end legal anonymity for under-18s accused of rioting. Tougher enforcement will also "make life hell" for gang leaders, the government promised.

Mr Cameron also indicated that human rights laws and health and safety rules had weakened the response to crime and would be reconsidered.

Mr Cameron will today say the riots have been a "wake-up call" for Britain after decades in which social problems have been allowed to "fester". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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