Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Police 'need riot tactics guidance'

Police forces across England and Wales should be given clearer guidance on tackling riots, Home Secretary Theresa May is due to say
Police forces across England and Wales should be given clearer guidance on tackling riots, Home Secretary Theresa May is due to say

Police forces across England and Wales should be given clearer guidance on how to tackle future riots, the Home Secretary is due to say.

Theresa May will say forces need the clearer guidance on a wide range of issues from operational tactics to the number of officers who need public order training.

But she is expected to clash with senior officers and critics as she rejects their calls to reconsider the Government's 20% cuts to police budgets in the wake of the riots and looting that have rocked England.

Instead, she will say the disturbances of the past 10 days show that the reforms are now more urgent than ever.

Mrs May is writing to Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, saying that forces should be given clearer guidance on tactics, pre-emptive action, the number of officers trained in public order policing, the need for forces to assist others, and the appropriate arrest policy.

In a speech in central London, Mrs May is also expected to praise officers who put themselves in harm's way during the riots, adding: "One thing is clear: the experience of the last 10 days makes the case for police reform more urgent than ever."

Mrs May will add that controversial proposals to replace police authorities with elected police and crime commissioners from next year, and the introduction of a new National Crime Agency, were now more important than ever.

She is also expected to clarify that when questions are asked about the success of policing operations, it is not intended as an attack on the police, but instead to reflect questions already being asked by officials at the Home Office.

The Home Secretary's defence of the Government's budget cuts comes after Prime Minister David Cameron also rejected calls from senior officers and Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson for a rethink, insisting that the reforms would reduce bureaucracy and allow a greater "police presence" on the streets.

Labour leader Ed Miliband attacked Mr Cameron and Mrs May for apparently claiming credit for tougher policing as police forces across the country flooded trouble-hit streets with specialist officers.

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