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Operation to police English riots badly flawed: MPs

The riots that spread across English cities this summer might have been avoided if police had “appreciated the magnitude of the task”, the head of a Commons committee said today.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, called for a “rapid improvement in police training to deal with public disorder”, saying that for those who lost their homes and businesses “the State effectively ceased to exist”.

Mr Vaz stated: “Individual police officers acted with great bravery, and we commend them for their actions.

“However, in London and other areas, in contrast with the effectiveness of police responses in some towns and cities, there was a failure of police tactics,” he said.

The committee’s report said: “If numbers could have been increased more rapidly, it is possible that some of the disturbances could have been avoided.

“We regret that this did not happen and, with the benefit of hindsight, we regard the operation to police the disorder in many towns and cities, and particularly in London, as flawed.”

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