Cameron In Public Dispute With Top Police Over Rioting Tactics
A rift has developed between the government and police, with Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin reproving David Cameron over negative comments in which the prime minister said that the police had been slow to act in the early stages of the riots.
Godwin said that criticism of the police was coming from people who “weren’t there”, adding: "If police officers had the benefit of hindsight as foresight we would obviously do things slightly differently".
The divide has opened over policing numbers for the riots in London, with Cameron seemingly suggesting that the Met had been slow to beef up numbers, which eventually rose from 6,000 to 16,000.
Following Godwin’s rebuke, Cameron was quick to go on the defensive, playing down talk of a split, insisting that the police should be praised.
He told ITN News: “They are a thin blue line who put themselves at risk. They are incredibly brave… I have huge respect for the police and huge respect for the British policing model.”
“It’s important that we do learn from what happened. There was a need to change tactics, and it was right that the police took those decisions.
“Where the Government and the police did work well together was through the Cobra, the emergency and planning committee. What this does is show political backing for the changes the police wanted to make.”
Earlier, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that the tactical change by the police had nothing to do with politicians returning from holiday. He did, however, play down talk of a rift, praising the support of the home secretary throughout the crisis.
New Figures released by the Metropolitan Police reveal that 1,144 people have so far been arrested in the capital, of which 693 people have been charged.
Two men have also been arrested on suspicion of murdering Trevor Ellis, 26, of Brixton Hill. Ellis was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in Croydon on Monday night. A 24-year-old and a 26 year-old have been taken into custody.