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PM: The police fightback begins

David Cameron has declared that a police "fightback" is under way after looting and mob violence spread across the country in a fourth night of rioting.

The Prime Minister said officers would get all the resources they needed and announced that water cannons were being made available at 24 hours' notice.

He spoke after the riots moved from London to Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham overnight on Tuesday, leaving three people dead and many shops looted or burnt out.

In London, 820 people have now been arrested in connection with violence, disorder and looting, with 279 charged, Scotland Yard said.

Speaking in Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee, Mr Cameron said: "We needed a fightback, and a fightback is under way.

"We have seen the worst of Britain, but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain - the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police, coming together in the clean-up operations."

He said officers would be given the resources and legal backing to use the tactics they felt were necessary to deal with the riots. "Police are already authorised to use baton rounds and we agreed at Cobra that, while they are not currently needed, we now have in place contingency plans for water cannons to be available at 24 hours' notice," he said.

Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered every police force in the country to cancel all leave to deal with the rioting crisis.

Mr Cameron said he would not allow a "culture of fear" to exist on Britain's streets and branded pockets of UK society as "sick".

Meanwhile, a man shot dead in his car following rioting earlier this week has been named by Scotland Yard. Trevor Ellis, 26, of Brixton Hill, south London, suffered a gunshot wound to the head after trouble flared in Croydon, south London, on Monday night. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day. Mr Ellis died from the head injury, a post mortem examination showed.


From Belfast Telegraph