Mob rule: Streets turned into war zones as rioting spreads
Police chiefs and political leaders were struggling to restore calm to England's streets today after riots spread across the country.
British Prime Minister David Cameron ended his holiday and flew back to Britain to chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee amid fears there will be a fourth night of violence.
The Football Association announced that England's friendly against Holland at Wembley Stadium tomorrow had been called off.
Hundreds of people were arrested overnight after the worst rioting in decades as looting, violence and arson spread across London and to other major cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.
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.
Mr Cameron cut short his family holiday to Tuscany and arrived back in Number 10 in the early hours.
He met Home Secretary Theresa May and acting Scotland Yard Commissioner Tim Godwin before chairing the Cobra meeting at 9am.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was stretched to the limits, with the arrests leaving all police cells in London full and Mr Godwin calling for every special constable to report for duty today.
Some 6,000 police officers tried to maintain order in the capital last night, and Scotland Yard said a total of 13,000 officers would be on duty over the next 24 hours.
The Met described the riots as the worst it had seen "in current memory" for "unacceptable levels of widespread looting, fires and disorder".
A total of 44 officers were injured, a man in his 60s suffered life-threatening head injuries, and Scotland Yard received over 20,000 999 calls, four times more than usual.
Scenes of widespread looting, violence and arson were seen not only in London, where riots began on Saturday night, but in other major cities including Liverpool and Birmingham.
The worst rioting in decades led to the arrest of hundreds of people, as streets were turned into war zones.
Scotland Yard said the three people were apprehended following an incident in Brent, north west London, that led to a police officer being injured by a car while trying to stop looters.
A force spokesman said: "At approximately 2.50am on Tuesday August 9 a male police officer was injured by a car in Fulton Road, Brent. He has been taken to a north London hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
"A second male police officer was also injured in the incident. He was taken to a north London hospital with a minor injury.
"It is believed the injury occurred when police stopped some cars as their occupants were suspected of being involved in looting of a nearby electrical store.
"It is believed the driver of one of the cars drove away injuring the police officer in the process. Three people were later stopped by police and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder."
Police and emergency services were overwhelmed by a third consecutive night of trouble.