Parliament is to be recalled from recess due to rioting across the country, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced. The PM has also ordered a massive rise in the number of police officers on the streets of Britain -- there will be 16,000 police officers patrolling London tonight. Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street, Cameron pledged 'more robust action' to deal with the rising sense of lawlessness across Britain.
London has suffered a third consecutive night of widespread violence and looting, while similar scenes in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol have resulted in dozens of arrests.
Groups of youths attacked shops and started fires in Peckham, Croydon, Lewisham and Hackney and several other areas, while emergency services struggled to cope.
There were incidents of looting and violence on Woolwich High Street, where a police car was said to have been burned.
Ealing was also targeted, with cars attacked and a Tesco shop plundered. It was reported that looters in Ealing attempted to break in to a Bang & Olufsen shop.
Camden also saw running battles between police and rioters throughout the early hours.
The Prime Minister said: "These are sickening scenes, scenes of people looting, vandalising, robbing... and even attacking fire crews as they are trying to put out fires.
"I feel huge sympathy for the families who've suffered, innocent people who've been burned out of their houses. I also feel for all those who live in fear. People should be in no doubt that we are on the side of law-abiding people who are appalled at what has happened in their own communities.
"We need even more police on our streets and we need even more robust police action."
He told the rioters, "You are not only wrecking the lives of others, you are potentially wrecking your own life too."
Cameron has returned from holiday in order to chair an emergency committee meeting in Downing Street. The crisis meeting, known as COBRA, was briefed on the riots by the acting commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Tim Godwin. Both David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will attend.
The Prime Minister had previously refused to return to the UK, but justified his change of mind due to the increasing severity of the situation. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, was also away but returned on Monday afternoon.
Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed Cameron's decision to return. "It is right that the prime minister is chairing Cobra. We need a co-ordinated response to ensure public safety and help those people who have lost homes and businesses."
Nick Clegg has defended the Government's response to the weekend's rioting in London against criticism that senior ministers were absent from the capital. The Deputy Prime Minister said "I reject completely this notion that somehow this government hasn't been functioning very effectively.
We have arranged things to make sure that this government works effectively on all the issues of the day. We are in constant contact with each other and we are working as effectively this week as we do in every other week of the year."
Several MPs have been urging the Government to impose stronger police action to deal with the unrest. Labour MP Diane Abbott has suggested that a curfew could be considered in parts of the inner city, whilst Conservative MP Patrick Mercer and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone called for the use of water cannon.
Mercer said: “I find it strange that we are willing to use these sort of measures against the Irish yet when Englishmen step out of line and behave in this atrocious and appalling way, we are happy to mollycoddle them,” he said. “If the police want cannon then they should be allowed to use them. I have used water cannon myself and I found them extremely effective.”
Some politicians went even further. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer tweeted: "Memo to COBRA: Time to get tough. Bring in the Army. Shoot looters and arsonists on sight." Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, also called for the army to be brought in to provide "logistical support" for emergency workers.
Theresa May played down the likelihood of introducing new police powers, although she refused to rule them out. "The British model of policing has been different [from that used in other parts of Europe]. It has been based on consent with local communities," she said. However, May insisted that ministers would be listening to advice from the police on what they considered necessary in order to keep order in the capital.
West Midlands Police have announced that they have arrested 389 people in connection with the riots.
Peter Hitchens: "People riot because they are wicked, selfish and lawless...we have dismantled every form of authority in society."
For the next hour Sky News is hosting a debate on the riots, with journalists Peter Hitchens and David Aaronovitch. It could get interesting...
|@ SkyNewsBreak : 186 Metropolitan Police officers reported injured since Saturday|
|@ SkyNewsBreak : Metropolitan Police have arrested 950 people so far since starts of the riots, 457 of those have been charged|
The met police have arrested a thug for robbing an injured student during the riots.
He is one of 950 people who have been arrested in connection with violence, disorder and looting by the metropolitan police. A total of 457 people have been charged.
|@ SkyNewsBreak : Met Police: Roughly half of 240 people who have appearedin court so far charged over London riots were under 18|
|@ TimGatt : K Clarke tells Sky:"This is worse than 25 yrs ago[...]There are several sections of the population that are much more totally irresponsible"|
Mr Cameron has set himself an enormous task here, effectively pledging to reverse the drift of popular culture in Britain and change the way the country thinks and feels.
While this continues, Met police have been making more arrests and raided properties - officers in Brixton, south London, recovered clothing and an iPod,
In Pimlico, West London, they found £1,600 in cash and "thousands of pounds worth of Hugo Boss clothing - all still with the labels on."
“In recent weeks the prison population has reached record highs and prison and probation officers are being increasingly overstretched. It is vital for public safety and for security in our prisons and the youth secure estate that prison and probation staff get the resources and support they need", he said in a statement released on Thursday.
|@ itv_news : 11-year-old girl charged with criminal damage following disturbances in Nottingham has been given a referral order #riots|
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced a £50 million fund to help make major long term improvements to the capital’s town centres and high streets damaged by the recent disturbances.
|@ frances_skynews : Ian Jones, 36 unemployed pleads guilty to trespass of a building containing a cash machine with 43k in it.|
|@ NigelNelson : Possibly the best, most thoughtful, speech @Ed_Miliband has made since becoming leader. Close study recommended|
Other games will go ahead at the start of the premier league, but start a bit earlier, David Cameron tells MPs.
"Other matches should go ahead but starting earlier on in the day. I think that is a very sensible decision."
The package of support being announced today includes:
A £10m recovery fund to help councils with the immediate costs of making their areas safe, clear and clean again. This fund can be used, for example, to clear debris left strewn in streets and make immediate repairs to pavements and roads. This Recovery scheme can also be used to support councils who use their powers to offer council tax discounts or council tax relief to those whose homes have been damaged but are still habitable.
A £20m High Street Support Scheme - funded jointly by the Departments for Communities and Local Government, and Business Innovation and Skills, which will be made available immediately, for the streets and areas where businesses were affected by the rioting. The money is intended to finance those measures that will get business trading again and meet short term costs. Councils will distribute the money and could use it to reduce business rates, finance building repairs and encourage customers back to the affected areas.
In addition, seriously damaged homes and business properties will be taken off the respective valuation lists, and Mr Pickles has strongly encouraged the Valuation Office Agency and local authorities to do so as promptly as possible. This removes any liability for council tax or business rates.
Councils have the power to offer rate relief for local firms, but must pay a quarter of the cost; central government automatically pays for three quarters of the cost. This Scheme will help reimburse councils for their costs, to facilitate immediate and real financial help to be given to small and medium firms to rebuild their local businesses. Business rates are typically the third biggest outgoing for firms after rent and staff.Re-housing funding to meet the immediate costs of emergency accommodation for families who have been made homeless by the disturbances. As these are exceptional circumstances, Mr Pickles has confirmed that his Department would meet these costs under established homelessness funding processes.
Commenting on the government's measures to help businesses affected by the riots, Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said:
“We welcome these announcements by the government, as they offer practical assistance at what is a terrible time for many businesses across London and the UK. We are also pleased to see that the government recognises the importance of getting businesses back up and running.
"It is important, however, that businesses in affected areas that did not experience any direct damage are able to take advantage of the measures announced today, where they have suffered an indirect impact.
"Ultimately though it will be the enduring spirit of London’s businesses that will see them recover from these appalling events, and ensure that the capital remains the best place in the world to do business.”
This Government has a clear message to the rioters: your one night of madness could have disastrous consequences for the rest of your lives, and for your entire family. .
|@ nickdebois : RT @stewartgjgreen: @nickdebois asks the P M to get schools to assist with identifying rioters and looters <and a good idea it is>thanks!|
"Further militarisation" won't help, she tells the PM
|@ GregHands : Ed Miliband loved seeing his brother slip up there on "elected chief constables", visibly smiling at the mistake.|
David Cameron: It's about giving police more power.
|@ craigawoodhouse : Michael Gove using ipad on Commons front bench. Wonder if he is re-watching newsnight row with Harman?|
He wants "as many people to be nicked" as possible
|@ TimGatt : How Cameron can control a U.S. based site like Da Twitta, I don't know.|
Reverse police cuts, reverse soft prison plans of current Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
Cameron is standing firm on this, cites police constables who agree with him in Thames Valley.