Prime Minister David Cameron has announced stronger police powers to ensure that offenders are caught and made to pay for their crimes.
In a statement to the House of Commons, the PM said keeping people safe was the first duty of government and pledged to do whatever it takes to restore law and order and rebuild communities.
The whole country has been shocked by the most appalling scenes of people looting, violence, vandalising and thieving. It is criminality pure and simple and there is absolutely no excuse for it.
We have seen houses, offices and shops raided and torched, police officers assaulted and fire crews attacked as they try to put out fires, people robbing others while they lie injured and bleeding in the street, and even three innocent people being deliberately run over and killed in Birmingham.
We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets.
Mr Cameron said he would change powers to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity. The Government will also look at whether any wider power of curfew is necessary.
And he said that steps were being considered to ban those suspected of planning criminal acts from using social media.
The PM said the “fightback has well and truly begun”, and stressed that the Government would not stop until law and order was fully restored on the streets.
A cross-government action plan to tackle gangs will report to Parliament in October 2011.
The PM also announced a package of support for homeowners and businesses which have seen their properties destroyed in the violence and looting with compensation available under the Riot Damages Act.
The Government is setting up a £20 million “high street support scheme” to help affected businesses and tax breaks and deferred payments would also be on offer to help firms get back on their feet.
The Government will ensure the police have the funds they need to meet the cost of any legitimate claims.
And whereas normally claims must be received within 14 days, we will extend the period to 42 days.
On the deeper causes of the disorder, Mr Cameron said that family breakdown and poor parenting had played a significant role and pledged to restore a sense of moral responsibility.
Mr Cameron concluded by calling on the country to pull together praising the “determined resolve” shown by communities across the UK who have helped to clean up their streets.
To the law abiding people who play by the rules, and who are the overwhelming majority in this country, I say the fightback has begun, we will protect you, if you’ve had your livelihood and property damaged, we will compensate you. We are on your side.
External site: Public disorder - support for business (BIS website)