15 Aug 2011

Cameron vow as police riot row simmers

Prime Minister David Cameron will say he “will not be found wanting” in confronting why last week’s riots happened and finding out how to prevent them happening again.

Cameron vow as police row simmers (Reuters)

The Prime Minister is set to make what Downing Street has called his “fightback” speech over the riots later today.

He is expected to promise to confront the “slow motion moral collapse” behind last week’s violence and order a full review of Government policy in an attempt to address this.

His speech comes after a weekend of acrimony between the Government and the police over how the riots were handled. Senior police officers are angered by political interference while politicians want to show they are in control.

On Friday, police chief Sir Hugh Orde insisted police made the decisions, not ministers, over using more robust tactics to stop the disorder. Home Secretary Theresa May has hit back, insisting she had told the police what the public wanted them to do. She also refused to consider slowing down cuts to police budgets.

Additionally, police are angry that David Cameron is bringing in US “supercop” Bill Bratton to deal with the aftermath of the riots.

‘Wake-up call’

Labour leader Ed Miliband, who will also make a speech on the riots today, is expected to wade into the row between the Government and the police by accusing ministers of “finger pointing” as he renews calls for a full-scale inquiry into the disturbances.

In his speech, Mr Cameron will say the riots must be “a wake-up call for our country” and add, in an apparent riposte to Labour’s calls for an inquiry: “We know what’s gone wrong.”

Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face. Prime Minister David Cameron

“Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face,” he will say, citing absent fathers, poor classroom discipline and unpunished crimes.

“Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivised – by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised. The question is…do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?”

“I can assure you, I will not be found wanting…that passion is stronger today than ever.”

He said the Government would review “every aspect of our work to mend our broken society” on schools, welfare, families, parenting, addiction, communities, and on cultural and bureaucratic problems such as the obsession with health and safety.

Cases in court

The courts are continuing to deal with the huge backlog of cases from the riots, some sitting through the weekend to deal with the flood. Scotland Yard said 1554 people have been arrested in connection with the violence in London alone, with 892 charged.

Among those who appeared in court yesterday were a 26-year-old man and a teenager charged with the murders of three men who were struck by a car in Birmingham during last week’s riots.

Joshua Donald, 26, from Kelsall Croft, Ladywood and a 17-year-old male from Winson Green were remanded in custody, while Adam King, 23, from Kings Norton, will appear in court today after he was also charged with the killings.