Cameron to bring in cannon for 'sick' riots
Published 11/08/2011 | 05:00
David Cameron has given the go-ahead for water cannons to be used on rioters in Britain for the first time and condemned pockets of society as "sick".
The British prime minister said that the cannon, previously only used in the North, would be available at 24 hours' notice to deal with the "despicable violence" being seen in cities.
Police had already been authorised to use baton rounds, he said.
In a sign that other, more draconian, measures will now be at their disposal, he added: "We will do whatever is necessary. Nothing is off the table."
In his strongest comments yet on the perpetrators of the violence, Mr Cameron said: "There are pockets of our society that are not only broken, but frankly sick . . . it is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel that the world owes them something."
Attacking the looters for their lawlessness, Mr Cameron said there was a "moral problem", often the result of poor parenting. He said that, as well as being a problem for politicians, it was "a problem for society".
Mr Cameron, who had chaired a meeting of the UK government's cobra emergency committee to assess the situation, said: "We needed a fightback, and a fightback is under way.
"We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain -- the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations."
Mr Cameron said that more arrests would take place as police sifted through the mass of evidence they've collected.
"Picture by picture, the criminals are being identified and arrested," he said.
Water cannons have been used by police in the North this summer and have been a regular sight at disturbances there.
But despite calls for their use in Britain, including after last year's student protests in London, ministers have always ruled out the tactic. (© Daily Telegraph, London)