Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Warning after 2,000 held over riots

heresa May met police and online chiefs to see how they could help prevent social media networks being used for criminal behaviour

Scotland Yard has warned fugitive rioters that it was "far from finished" as the force confirmed that more than 2,000 suspects have been arrested over the capital's disturbances.

Of 2,006 people held by officers over the violence that swept through London earlier this month, 1,135 people have been charged.

Commander Simon Foy said: "I want to send a clear message to those involved that you will not get away with it."

The arrest tally was announced as Home Secretary Theresa May met police and executives from social media networks to see how they could help prevent them being used for criminal behaviour.

But the Government did not seek any additional powers to close down networks such as BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook or Twitter, said the Home Office.

The likes of BlackBerry Messenger - a service which allows users to send free-of-charge real-time messages - enabled yobs to organise their movements during the widespread looting and vandalism across England a fortnight ago.

Following Thursday's meeting, a Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Home Secretary, along with the Culture Secretary and Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne, has held a constructive meeting with Acpo (the Association of Chief Police Officers), the police and representatives from the social media industry.

"The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and co-operation to prevent the networks being used for criminal behaviour. The Government did not seek any additional powers to close down social media networks."

Figures from the Metropolitan Police show 954 cases have appeared in court, with 82 people sentenced and 42 jailed.

Mr Foy added: "The determination and dedication of officers from all parts of the Met have led to this important milestone but we are far from finished. The investigation into the widespread criminality we saw remains a major task on an unprecedented scale. We have got to this point with fantastic support from the public and I urge anyone with any information to come forward."

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