THE RIOTS that broke out in London and other English cities last month will leave the British taxpayer with a bill of £140m (€160m) from the cost of extra policing and compensating businesses, police chiefs said yesterday.
The acting head of Scotland Yard also admitted that the force had been caught completely unawares by the extent of the violence and admitted he wished he had deployed more officers on the capital's streets earlier.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and senior police officers recalled the scale of the unrest in evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which is investigating the worst riots to hit England for three decades.
They started in Tottenham, north London, following the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, and spread within days to 22 boroughs as well as the West Midlands and North-west.
The MPs were told the extra policing costs were estimated at £74m (€84m) for London and £50m (€57) for the rest of the country.
Tim Godwin, the acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner, acknowledged he wished he had had more officers on duty saying his force simply ran out of officers. He said: "Sometimes you suddenly realise how thin the blue line is." (© Independent News Services)