Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Nick Clegg rejects coalition riots rift with police claims

A Miss Selfridge shop on fire in Market Street in Manchester city centre
Police restrain a man in Manchester after trouble in the city centre
Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Tottenham MP David Lammy meet a local resident in Tottenham following two nights of rioting in the area

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has denied rumours of a rift between the Government and police over handling of the riots in England.

Mr Clegg was visiting Manchester, where more than 100 premises in the city and nearby Salford were damaged and looted during disturbances on Tuesday night.

The Deputy Prime Minister visited Olive Delicatessen in Whitworth Street, a family-run cafe and deli.

He said: "There is no rift between the police and the Government, we fully support the police 100%.

"They have done a brilliant job in really difficult circumstances.

"The police themselves have said they want to review what happened and look at tactics and learn lessons."

Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron played down tensions after senior officers hit back at criticism of their response to the crisis.

Mr Clegg added: "These were very fast events, they were unpredictable and they were unpredicted.

"But nobody is sitting there as an armchair general trying to second-guess tactical decisions which the police have to take in very difficult circumstances."

Mr Clegg met Tuesday Steel, who runs Olive Delicatessen with her children, Victoria and James.

Rioters smashed their way into the shop on Tuesday night, causing thousands of pounds of damage by breaking doors, windows and glass panels.

The thieves stole a laptop and a stock-take is continuing to establish how much was lost to the looters that night.

Victoria Steel, 25, told Mr Clegg she was at home that night but rushed into town when she saw a picture on Twitter of riot police leaving the Olive premises after it was attacked.

On arrival she confronted a thief who was brazenly standing behind the counter searching for loot.

She said: "We had shut early on the advice of the police but I didn't think that we would be targeted.

"I was watching the news at home and thinking it was a sad state of affairs but Twitter was the first time we saw that anything had happened to the deli.

"Somebody had taken a picture of the riot police leaving and I thought 'I've got to go down, I'm not going to sit around and wait until tomorrow to find out what damage has been done'.

"This business means a lot to me, it means a lot to the community here and it matters to us all.

"It's my family's livelihood.

"I came into the shop, my friend was with me because she didn't want me to be alone.

"There were thugs, gangs on the park, and I went straight into the shop and found a guy in there.

"He was behind the counter, looking for money or anything to steal.

"I screamed at him to get out, which he did, and yesterday saw his picture in the Manchester Evening News on a line-up of people that had been caught and he's been remanded."

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