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London Riots: Nearly 700 People Charged, Say Police

PTI 13 Aug 2011, 19:48:36 IST

London, Aug 13: More than 700 people have been charged with violence and looting for four days of unprecedented street violence that shook Britain last week as authorities announced that they would maintain emergency policing levels through the week end and beyond if necessary. 

Home Secretary Theresa May said that authorities in no case would take chances and that 16,000 police officers would remain deployed in London and other cities to keep vigil over the weekend.

"We will be maintaining the numbers for a period of time," May said, asserting that though there had been quieter nights, "We can't afford to be complacent."

London police announced that more than 1,700 arrests have been carried out of which 700 have been charged with the courts working round the clock. Two-thirds of those charged have been remanded to custody.

Sensing widespread backing for a harsher crackdown on the rioters Prime Minister David Cameron has announced full backing of his government for speedy justice that has hastened hundreds of suspects through the courts.

Cameron had also proposed a punitive campaign against the looters to kick them and their families out of their government subsidised homes.

The new measure would probably me the most punitive of the sanctions, the British government is considering in response to the worst civil disorder in a generation. More than 10 million Britons live in public houses.

In the first such case an 18-year-old youth and his mother were served with an eviction notice in the Wandsworth Council. The kicking out process will come into effect if he is convicted.

A US crime expert enlisted by Cameron to help curb gangs after this weeks riots has said, that solving the problem was more complex than just arresting people.

Former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton who was a key figure in imposing zero-tolerance police in New York said the solution was robust and community based policing was necessary to nip gang culture in the bud.

"It is going to require a lot of intervention and prevention strategies and techniques," Bratton told in an interview in US.

He said he had agreed to visit Britain in coming months to give advice. PTI