Monday 19 February 2018

Kids of just nine among mobs on rampage for 4th night

Children as young as nine were among the hundreds who ran amok as ugly scenes of looting spread to Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham overnight.

West Midlands police launched a murder investigation after three men were killed when hit by a car in Britain’s second city.

Hundreds of people were arrested and a number of magistrates' courts around London will be running on a 24-hour basis to try and clear the backlog.

A beefed-up presence of 16,000 officers patrolling the capital resulted in a quieter night across London, with 81 arrests, taking the total detained by Scotland Yard since Saturday night to 768.

More than 450 detectives are also working around the clock to track down and arrest the London rioters.

Trouble also erupted in areas including Liverpool, Salford, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Bristol and Gloucester.

Onlookers observed pre teen children, some as young as nine years old running with the mobs who broke windows and looted shops.

British Sports minister, Hugh Robertson, said "it's too early to say" whether the Premiership season can begin on Saturday given the massive numbers of police required.

“We are talking to the Premier League and to police later on this morning. It's a fluid and fast moving situation... it's too early to say one way or another.”

The Independent reports that budget airlines are being inundated with calls from MPs trying to get back from holiday in time for the recall of Parliament tomorrow. One airline said that at least 60 MPs had been in touch.

For the second day running, Prime Minister David Cameron, who returned early from holiday to deal with the crisis, will chair another meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee to discuss the worsening situation.

Until last night Manchester had remained untouched by the violence which has devastated communities.

But hundreds of marauding thugs descended on the city where they torched a shop, smashed up businesses and looted, bringing "shame in particular on the streets of Salford and Manchester", said Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan.

Officers arrested 108 people after hooded youths played cat and mouse with riot officers.

West Midlands Police said they had made a total of 109 arrests following scenes of disorder in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.

Shops, including a branch of Marks & Spencer and a hi-fi store, were again targeted in Birmingham with reports of a gun being fired, while there were reports of large groups of people in West Bromwich town centre and vehicles being set on fire.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said restoring public confidence and making sure rebuilding work starts as quickly as possible are the priorities.

"For now, the priority is restoring public confidence," he told BBC Breakfast.

He said insurance claims should be fast-tracked and local authorities must be given the money to make sure rebuilding could start, providing reassurance to affected communities.

Mr Miliband said the causes of the riots were "complex" and "brave" police must be allowed make operational decisions about how to deal with the unrest.

He praised the "strong policing response" last night, adding: "We have got to give them the resources they need, that's very important."

Police in Wolverhampton were called to reports of a large group of people in the city centre after shops were attacked.

A mob firebombed a Nottingham police station and college with more than 90 troublemakers arrested, while in Leicester officers arrested 13 people following trouble in the city centre.

There was also alarm in the South West with gangs of youths attacking police.

In Gloucester city centre, mounted officers were deployed to combat groups of youths attacking shop windows, some with their faces covered, while a significant fire also broke out in the Brunswick area. Three arrests were made.

And in Bristol, police arrested 19 people following a second night of trouble.

There were also small outbreaks of disorder reported by Thames Valley Police in Reading, Oxford and Milton Keynes, while 200 missile-throwing youths gathered in the south Liverpool area of Toxteth causing disorder and damage, according to Merseyside Police.

The force said a total of 50 arrests were made overnight.

Businesses and shops across London shut down early in a bid to avoid attack from the gangs of youths who ransacked buildings across the city over the previous days.

Many firms also sent staff home amid fears that rioters could attack again.

The Metropolitan Police flooded the streets with 16,000 officers - nearly three times as many as were on duty on Monday night - to quash concerns that they were losing control of parts of the capital.

Some 30 other forces lent officers to bolster the numbers for a massive policing operation intended to put a stop to the horrific scenes witnessed across the country since Saturday.

Scotland Yard ruled out involving the Army for now but said police were "not scared" of using plastic bullets to bring the unprecedented riots under control.

The force confirmed that a fire involving a number of vehicles broke out on an industrial estate in Tottenham, north London, and its cause was being treated as unexplained.

It also said a 21-year-old man had been arrested in connection with a large fire which destroyed a furniture store in Croydon, south London, on Monday.

Some Londoners took to the streets to defend their homes and stores yesterday, with a number of people standing guard outside a Sikh temple in Southall, west London.

Another group marched through Enfield, north London, aiming to deter looters.

.Mr Cameron has pledged to speed up court procedures to deal with the "many more" arrests expected as police scour hundreds of hours of CCTV for evidence about those responsible for the violence.

He warned the young people involved in the riots: "You will feel the full force of the law. And if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment."

The violence began in Tottenham on Saturday night after a peaceful protest over the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, last Thursday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed there was no evidence that Mr Duggan fired at officers before he was shot in the chest.

Mr Duggan's family said they were "deeply distressed" by the disorder across the country which has followed his death.

A 26-year-old man who was shot in a car during riots in Croydon died in hospital yesterday.

And three people were held on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer who was injured by a car while trying to stop looters in Brent, north-west London.

A total of 111 Met officers and five police dogs have been injured in the violence after being attacked with bricks, glass bottles and planks of wood.

The arrests made by Scotland Yard are for offences ranging from burglary to possessing offensive weapons.

The force has launched a dedicated webpage to show images of people wanted over the disturbances at

The riots have led to a series of domestic football matches being called off, including Carling Cup ties at West Ham, Charlton, Crystal Palace and Bristol City.

In an exceptional move, the Football Association announced that England's friendly against Holland at Wembley Stadium today had also been called off.

As fears began to grow that officers would not be able to cope with sustaining patrols in blighted cities, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said there was still plenty of scope.

Speaking on Daybreak, he said: "I have spoken to Acpo (Association of Chief Police Officers) colleagues this morning who co-ordinated the national response to this.

"There are plenty of resources left in the tank, there are plenty of people available and we will continue to respond as we have to."

Asked about the possible use of rubber bullets, he said it was important not to focus solely on hard or soft tactics.

"What we've got to do is use every single tool in the box," he said.

"What happened in London last night was, when community leaders and the police came together, there were significant arrests.

"We used buses to make sure some looters were taken away before they got into doing anything, but it was that joint action that made the difference yesterday."

Education Secretary Michael Gove told BBC Breakfast that the experience in London last night showed that "with technical back-up, we can restore order to our streets".

He added: "We need to make sure that the police have the resources they need. As long as it takes and as much as they need, we will support the police in restoring order.

"How many police officers are deployed and where they need to be deployed is a matter for the police. But what the police need most is the knowledge that the public supports them."

Mr Gove said it was wrong to assume poverty and criminality go hand-in-hand, saying there were many hard-working people who face hardship but did not resort to crime.

"It is absolutely right to say we need to do more to help the very poorest in our society but disadvantage does not explain what has happened," he added.

With police officers working long, dangerous hours, attention has also focused on firefighters who have often come under attack from yobs.

Brian Coleman, leader of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said fire services had so far "just about" coped.

But he told Daybreak that firefighters would not be sent where thugs could attack them.

He said: "We are not going to send firefighters into situations which are dangerous, i.e. they're being attacked by members of the public while doing their job of protecting life and property."

He said some delays in getting to blazes were caused by roadblocks and the police's inability to "provide adequate protection".

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