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Anger over police tactics criticism

More than 3,000 rioters face punishment as Britain's top police officer set his sights on the largest-scale conviction of modern times.

Scotland Yard Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin vowed to exhaust all opportunities to convict looters and rioters as he attacked "inconsistencies" from Parliament over tactics.

He also expressed anger over "extremely hurtful and untrue" claims that police had been timid in their approach.

Mr Godwin said Scotland Yard chiefs never gave orders to hold back during escalating violence this week, as he paid tribute to the bravery of his officers.

He compared the task facing police with the aftermath of the 7/7 terror attacks, saying the force's operation was unprecedented.

"At the end of the day, if we are successful, I would imagine that we would be putting 3,000 or so people through the courts," he said.

"That's yet to be worked through but we have lots and lots of images, we have lots and lots of CCTV and there were lots of people involved."

Police are angered by accusations of holding back during the crisis after previously facing criticism over alleged heavy-handedness at public disorder incidents.

When asked whether his officers had been scared to "go in hard" in the wake of allegations surrounding the G20 and student fees protests, Mr Godwin said: "That is a debate I've been having with some of our politicians in the sense that there is an inconsistency of guidance from Parliament in terms of their expectations."

Reflecting on the unprecedented violence across London this week, Mr Godwin denied claims his officers had been standing off the rioters. "To say that the Metropolitan Police has been timid I find extremely hurtful and untrue," Mr Godwin added. "I have some of the bravest, most courageous men and women that anyone has has had the honour to lead."


From Belfast Telegraph