PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Britain's top officers hit back at criticism from politicians as they insisted tactical decisions at the riots were the sole responsibility of police.
In an apparent dig at senior figures - such as the Prime Minister and Home Secretary - who were on holiday when the trouble erupted, Scotland Yard's acting commissioner Tim Godwin said comments were being made by people "who weren't there".
Mr Godwin and Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, both rejected criticism of police conduct as they left a meeting with ministers at Whitehall.
When asked how he felt about criticism levelled at Scotland Yard, Mr Godwin said: "I think after any event like this, people will always make comments who weren't there."
Meanwhile, the death toll from the violent disorder has risen after a man attacked by rioters as he attempted to stamp out a fire in west London died in hospital.
Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, who was left in a coma when he was set upon by a mob in Ealing during Monday's disorder, died late on Thursday night, prompting detectives to launch a murder inquiry.
A 22-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of murder, rioting and carrying out three burglaries, police said
Mr Bowes' death follows those of three friends who were run down by a car as they attempted to protect their community from looters in Birmingham and the murder of a 26-year-old father-of-four who was shot during disorder in Croydon.
Another wave of rioters and looters are to face justice in the courts as measures to prevent a repeat of this week's violent scenes are discussed by the Government and senior officials.
More than 1,500 people have now been arrested by forces in towns and cities hit by chaos and destruction earlier this week and more than 500 charged with offences related to the four days of disorder. Scotland Yard said by 7am, 1,051 people had been arrested by the force in connection with violence, disorder and looting and 591 people had been charged.