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Thousands Of Extra Police On London Streets To Deter Rioters

PTI 11 Aug 2011, 8:46:40 IST

Eltham, London, Aug 11 : Thousands of extra police officers flooded the streets of London on Wednesday to deter rioters after Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the government would take any necessary action to restore order and confidence to Britain's streets.

An eerie calm prevailed over most of the city as night fell, although in the south London neighbourhood of Eltham, the Metropolitan Police said some objects had been thrown at officers.

But the Met said the incident had been "dealt with" and that a group had been dispersed - leaving a highly-visible police presence on Eltham's streets.

Earlier in the day, Cameron promised not to let a "culture of fear" take hold and recalled Parliament from its summer recess for an emergency debate on the riots on Thursday.

Scenes of ransacked stores, torched cars and blackened buildings have frightened and outraged Britons just a year before their country is to host next summer's Olympic Games, bringing demands for a tougher response from law enforcement.

Police across the country have made almost 1,200 arrests since the violence broke out in the capital on Saturday.

The number of arrests in London alone has climbed to 805, with courts staffing around the clock to process alleged looters, vandals and thieves - including one as young as 11.

The surge in police numbers came on Tuesday, as armoured vehicles and convoys of police vans backed up some 16,000 officers on duty - almost triple the number who were out on Monday night.

The show of force seems to have worked - there were no reports of major trouble in London on Tuesday night, although there were scores of arrests.

England's riots began on Saturday when an initially peaceful protest over a police shooting in London's Tottenham neighbourhood turned violent.

That clash has morphed into a general lawlessness in London and several other cities that police have struggled to halt.

While the rioters have run off with goods many teens want - new sneakers, bikes, electronics and leather goods - they also have torched stores apparently just to see something burn.

They were left virtually unchallenged in several neighbourhoods, and when police did arrive they often were able to flee quickly and regroup. AP