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Police arrest 182 over fees demos

More than 180 people have been arrested by police investigating rioting during the series of protests against rising student tuition fees.

Senior officers said the vast majority of the 182 suspects were aged between 17 and 25 and have never been involved in violence or criminal acts before.

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Horne, who is leading the inquiry, said he expects the figure to grow considerably as 80 officers comb through video footage.

Speaking at New Scotland Yard, where protesters are expected to attempt to "kettle" police later, he said the inquiry could take months to complete.

He said: "182 individuals have now been arrested as a result of the four demonstrations and we anticipate that number to grow significantly. What struck me is the number of people arrested who did not go that day with necessarily any intention of committing any violent action."

Mr Horne said there was a "stark contrast" between scenes in Westminster and homes with crying parents and shocked young people when police turn up.

He added: "I would urge those who turn up for protests to think about the impact this could have on their future careers. When they are shown footage of their actions that day some are shocked by the impact of their behaviour."

Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the cost of policing the demonstrations is significant and he has been "stripping London out" to meet the demand.

The senior officer said almost 3,000 officers were deployed last Thursday and he was proud of their professionalism in the face of unprecedented provocation and violence.

Sir Paul also said a report by Commander Ian Quinton into the attack on the royal car in Regent Street will be completed by Friday and handed to the Home Secretary.

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