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PM declares 'all-out war' on gangs

David Cameron has declared "all-out war" on gangs as the fragile political consensus over the response to the riots disintegrated.

The Prime Minister pledged to stamp out the criminal groups as he dismissed any link between last week's devastating violence and the coalition's austerity measures.

He also promised action to "turn around" 120,000 problem families known to disrupt neighbourhoods, as well as a renewed focus on encouraging responsibility and "moral" behaviour.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband accused Mr Cameron of offering "knee jerk" solutions and warned that "finger-pointing" by ministers was undermining senior police officers.

The two men set out their competing visions in speeches as police continued to round up suspects from last week's riots and bring them before the courts.

In what was billed as a "fightback" address at a youth centre in his Witney constituency, Mr Cameron said although there had been local factors in the violence, "in large parts of the country this was just pure criminality".

"These riots were not about race: the perpetrators and the victims were white, black and Asian," he said.

"These riots were not about Government cuts: they were directed at high street stores, not Parliament."

Meanwhile, Mr Miliband urged the Government not to follow an "easy and predictable path" by blaming the riots on criminality "pure and simple".

And he attacked Mr Cameron for claiming credit for tougher policing as forces across the country flooded trouble-hit streets with specialist officers.

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