Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

UK shaken by worst riots in decades

Violence, arson and looting have been since in London, Liverpool and Birmingham
Police arrest a man for looting in Clapham Junction, south London (AP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Police officers in riot gear stand near a burning car in Hackney on August 8, 2011 in London, England. Pockets of rioting and looting continues to take place in various boroughs of London this evening, as well as in Birmingham, prompted by the initial rioting in Tottenham and then in Brixton on Sunday night. It has been announced that the Prime Minister David Cameron and his family are due to return home from their summer holiday in Tuscany, Italy to respond to the rioting. Disturbances broke out late on Saturday night in Tottenham and the surrounding area after the killing of Mark Duggan, 29 and a father-of-four, by armed police in an attempted arrest on August 4. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer after riots spread across England.

The Prime Minister was forced to return early from holiday to deal with the escalating crisis, and England's football friendly against Holland at Wembley has been called off.

Scenes of widespread looting, violence and arson were seen not only in London, where riots began on Saturday night, but in other major cities including Liverpool and Birmingham. The worst rioting in decades led to the arrest of hundreds of people, as streets were turned into war zones.

Scotland Yard said the three people were apprehended following an incident in Brent, north-west London, that led to a police officer being injured by a car while trying to stop looters.

David Cameron flew back to Britain to chair the Government's emergency committee Cobra and meet police chiefs, having been on a family holiday to Tuscany. Downing Street said Mr Cameron will meet Home Secretary Theresa May and Acting Scotland Yard Commissioner Tim Godwin before chairing the Cobra meeting.

Scotland Yard said 334 people had been arrested, 69 people charged and two cautioned in connection with the rioting and looting across London. West Midlands Police arrested about 100 people in Birmingham after youths went on the rampage in the city centre's retail area, near the Bullring shopping mall.

Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said all police leave and training has been cancelled and "all able-bodied officers in the Met will be out" tonight, making it an "unprecedented" number in London. All police cells in London are full and anyone arrested now is being taken to surrounding areas, Scotland Yard said.

Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin has called for all special constables to report for duty and "for employers to support this".

Scotland Yard said a total of 44 police officers were injured on Monday night, a man in his 60s suffered life-threatening head injuries and police received almost 20,800 emergency calls, 400% more than the usual 5,400.

On the official Metropolitan Police Twitter account, Scotland Yard said: "In the next 24 hours there will be 13,000 police officers on duty in London."

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