The cost of policing the UK riots currently stands at around £125 million, with the final figure expected to be much higher, according to figures released during a parliamentary hearing.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said the London riots cost the Metropolitan police £74 million, while Sir Hugh Order, president of the Association of Police Officers (Acpo) and a candidate for the vacant Met Commissioner post, gave a costing of £50 million to forces outside London.
An Acpo spokesperson clarified to The Huffington Post UK that the £50 million was made up of mutual aid costs, meaning those incurred by other forces sent into the riot areas, while costs to forces directly affected by the riots - Greater Manchester and West Bromwich - have yet to be factored in.
Johnson, speaking before a Commons Select Committee on Tuesday, confirmed that the Treasury would pay the bill in full. As such, Acpo is not expecting the costs to impact on proposed police cut backs.
Johnson also revealed to the committee that the compensation claims of people affected by the riots has so far totalled £9.3 million, with the Metropolitan Police receiving more than 100 claims.
Speaking to MPs, the mayor declined to agree with David Cameron’s criticism of the police. In August the prime minister said that “there were simply far too few police deployed on to our streets and the tactics they were using weren't working.”
Whilst defending the tactics employed by the Met during the unrest, Johnson did concede that the police had been “surprised”, adding: "I think with 20/20 hindsight people may feel that it would have been wiser to upscale the police presence.”
However, the mayor concluded that overall “the riots were contained and there were remarkably few casualties". He also said the unrest “caught everyone unawares.”
Johnson also concurred with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s assessment of the rioters as a “feral underclass”, citing Ministry of Justice figures that suggest 83 per cent of those convicted so far already had contact with the police, while 75 per cent already had a criminal record.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman confirmed to The Huffington Post UK that 83 per cent of those arrested by the Met did have some previous contact with the police, while 77 per cent (not 75 per cent as cited by Johnson) of those arrested nationwide already had a criminal record.
Chairman of the select committee Keith Vaz questioned Johnson on his view of the rioters, suggesting this type of labelling may encourage further illegal activity. The mayor said he didn’t think people would use a newspaper article as an excuse for rioting.
"There was a hard core of people determined to cause trouble," Johnson added. "They had the communications and ways of telling others to come and destroy shops. And then there were people who just happened to be there."
Speaking after Boris Johnson, acting Scotland Yard boss Tim Godwin said the riots were “a wake-up call for the criminal justice system”.
"We have in London been seeking to speed up justice," he argued, "make it more relevant, make it more relevant to communities, and that's something that we need to do."
Yesterday, it emerged that sentences for cases of theft and the handling of stolen goods connected to last month's riots were higher than average. Statistics published by The Guardian and verified by the Ministry of Justice suggest that judges made an effort to hand out more severe sentences that usual.
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