Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

PM forced to deny rift with police

David Cameron has denied there is a rift between police and politicians over the handling of riots
The Prime Minister responded to senior police officers, who said it was their decision to increase police numbers during the riots
Richard Mannington Bowes died in hospital after he was attacked in Springbridge Road, Ealing, west London, during Monday's disorder

David Cameron has been forced to deny a rift with police over the handling of the devastating riots that swept England.

The Prime Minister played down tensions after senior officers hit back at criticism of their response to the crisis.

Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin complained of negative comments from people who "weren't there" when the violence began - an apparent jibe at politicians, such as Mr Cameron, who were on holiday. Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, dismissed the idea that ministers deserved credit for quelling the disturbances.

The differences emerged with police across the country still on high alert despite relative calm over the past couple of days. Home Secretary Theresa May indicated that the "surge" of officers on the streets would be maintained for some time.

Mr Cameron spoke to former New York police chief Bill Bratton by telephone. The two men discussed the possibility of Mr Bratton advising the UK Government on how to deal with gangs and are expected to meet next month.

"This is a Prime Minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do," Mr Bratton said. "He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I'm very optimistic."

Some 1,600 people have now been arrested, with around 800 already having appeared in court. The Government said two-thirds of those charged have been remanded into custody rather than bailed. Only 122 of the individuals who have gone to court were under 18 - despite speculation that children were behind much of the trouble.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested over the murder of pensioner Richard Mannington Bowes, who was attacked as he tried to stamp out a fire in Ealing on Monday. Mr Bowes, 68, became the fifth victim of the riots when he died in hospital just before midnight on Thursday night.

An inquest into the deaths of three men in Birmingham who were run down by a car while guarding shops from looters was told that police are seeking further suspects, having already arrested four people. The hearing into the deaths of Haroon Jahan and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir, was adjourned with coroner Aidan Cotter ordering that their bodies should be released for burial next Wednesday.

Two men have also been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a man found shot in his car following rioting, Scotland Yard said. Trevor Ellis, 26, suffered a gunshot wound to the head after trouble flared in Croydon, south London, on Monday night. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day.

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