14/08/2011 09:11 BST | Updated 14/10/2011 06:12 BST

Riot Police Chief Hits Back At Cameron's Call For Zero Tolerance, Says Police Will Not 'Slavishly' Adopt Empty Slogans

West Midlands' Police Chief has hit back at David Cameron's call for a zero tolerance crime policy, saying police will not "slavishly" adopt empty slogans.

In a statement released on Sunday, Chief Constable Chris Sims said the level of support for police felt " a million miles from the debates apparently raging in Westminster" and warned against abandoning "compassion" for some of the young people involved in rioting.

"West Midlands Police has arrested well over 500 people who are being put before the courts, sentencing is justifiably harsh but we must not at this time abandon all compassion for some of our very damaged young people who have been caught up in these incidents.

"I continue to work with the Police Authority to develop a policing response that is consistent with available good practice but is not slavishly adopting empty slogans. The ethos of local policing has been the bedrock which has allowed collective common sense to prevail.

"In the end my job is to serve and protect the people of the West Midlands and to be accountable to them."

He was speaking ahead of a United Birmingham Peace event held in the wake of the murder of three men during riots in Birmingham, where residents will call for "one city, one voice for peace".