David Cameron Pledges ‘Zero Tolerance’ To Gangs

David Cameron has vowed a new “zero tolerance” attitude to gangs as opposition towards his appointment of US Supercop Bill Bratton grows.

Following recent riots in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron promised no tolerance to street criminals. In this photo, David Cameron speaks to the media outside No10 following a COBRA meeting on August 10, 2011. Photo: The Prime Minister's Office/Flickr

The Prime Minister used an interview with The Sunday Telegraph to promise a series of tough measures, to be unveiled in the coming months, to fight crime and reclaim the streets from rioters, looters and gangs.

In his first interview since the UK suffered four nights of rioting he told that there was a simple answer to the violence and pledged a crackdown: “I think there is a danger sometimes of people seeking very, very complicated answers when there are quite simple [explanations] … these people who were nicking televisions were not complaining about the reform of the education maintenance allowance or tuition fees.”

“They were nicking televisions because they wanted a television and they weren’t prepared to save up and get it like normal people,” Prime Minister said.

“I will be saying much more about that because I think it is true,” Mr Cameron said. “We haven’t talked the language of zero tolerance enough but the message is getting through.”

Mr Cameron has recruited Bill Bratton, the former US “supercop”, to advise him as he plans his autumn enforcement drive.

The prime minister told the Sunday Telegraph he still plans to press ahead with cuts to police budgets and plans for elected police commissioners.

The Prime Minister is expected to give details of the new strategy in a major speech in the next few weeks.

He has already approved the use of water cannon if needed to quell violence, signalled that police will be allowed to order rioters to remove face coverings and threatened the possible disruption of social messaging networks if used to instigate trouble. In other developments yesterday:

The Prime Minister said: “I think there is a danger sometimes of people seeking very, very complicated answers when there are quite simple [explanations] … these people who were nicking televisions were not complaining about the reform of the education maintenance allowance or tuition fees.

“They were nicking televisions because they wanted a television and they weren’t prepared to save up and get it like normal people.”

He pledged no retreat over plans to introduce directly elected police commissioners or to cut police budgets by six per cent over four years, which force chiefs say will lead to thousands fewer officers.

The number of arrests connected to last week’s disturbances soared, with the Metropolitan Police saying it had held 1,276 people. Of those, 748 have been charged.

The courts were flooded with more cases of alleged rioters, including Reece Donovan, 20, accused at City of Westminster magistrates’ of robbing Ashraf Rossli, an injured Malaysian student.

The Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner said he expected to see a total of 3,000 arrests in London. His force said it had arrested a 33-year-old man suspected of arson with intent to endanger life over the fire which destroyed a Croydon furniture store.

Mr Cameron has been attacked for being too late to return from his holiday in Italy to take charge of the fightback against the rioters.

He has said a full public inquiry into the rioting, called for by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is not needed. [via The Telegraph and Huffpost]

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