Image: Arresting suspects in London
Anthony Devlin  /  EPA
Metropolitan Police officers arrest a suspect after carrying out a raid on a property on the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico during Operation Woodstock, London on Thursday.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/11/2011 7:43:53 AM ET 2011-08-11T11:43:53

Declaring "we will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets," Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that police across Britain had so far made more than 1,200 arrests over the country's worst civil unrest in memory.

Police levels London would remain elevated at 16,000 through the weekend, Cameron told an emergency session of parliament.

He promised tough measures to stop further violence and said "nothing should be off the table," including water cannons and plastic bullets.

"The whole country has been shocked (by the riots). ... It is criminality, pure and simple, and there is absolutely no excuse for it," Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

He said riot-hit businesses would receive help to get back on their feet, and promised to look to the United States for help in fighting the street gangs he blamed for helping spark Britain's riots.

Cameron told lawmakers that he would look to cities like Boston for inspiration. He also mentioned former Los Angeles and New York Police Chief Bill Bratton as a person who could help offer advice.

The government, police and intelligence services were looking at whether there should be limits on the use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread disorder, he said.

Overnight raids
Meanwhile the number of people arrested in London alone rose to 922 since trouble began on Saturday, with 401 suspects charged.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said raids to round up suspects began overnight, and more than 100 warrants would be executed.

Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said there would be "hundreds more people in custody" by the end of the day.

The Guardian newspaper reported that an 11-year-old girl had been charged with criminal damage and jailed pending a court hearing, citing Nottinghamshire police.

The paper also said three people have been charged with posting messages on Facebook encouraging disorder, one in Sussex in the south and two in Lancashire in the north-west.

However, British cities were largely quiet by Thursday morning.

Grace of a grieving father speaks to a wounded Britain

Meanwhile, Saturday's English Premier League soccer game between Tottenham and Everton — originally scheduled for Tottenham's north London stadium — had been postponed due to the riots. The unrest flared initially in Tottenham.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the "sociological debate" about the origins of the violence was for the future.

Image: A suspected rioter is brought to the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, London
Marius Becker  /  EPA
A suspected rioter (left) is brought to the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, London, Great Britain, late night on Wednesday.

"Right now, it's important that people are reassured that their streets are made safe, their homes are made safe and society is allowed to move on," Clegg told BBC radio.

Riots reveal London’s two disparate worlds

Libyan state television, meanwhile, added its analysis of the situation, claiming Cameron was using "Irish and Scottish mercenaries" to tame riots in England.

"The rebels of Britain approach Liverpool in hit-and-run battles with Cameron's brigades and mercenaries from Ireland and Scotland. God is Greatest," said a breaking news caption on Libyan TV's morning program, according to Reuters.

"These (riots in Britain) are not protests fomented by foreign intelligence services," said the show host, contrasting the turmoil in Britain with what Tripoli calls a foreign-hatched plot to unseat Libya's lawful government.

Story: Deaths of 3 Muslims stoke ethnic tensions in UK

There was a brief outbreak of trouble in Eltham, southeast London, where a group of largely white and middle-aged men who claimed to be defending their neighborhood pelted police with rocks and bottles.

Police said the incident had been "dealt with" and a group was dispersed.

There were chaotic scenes at courthouses, several of which sat through the night to process scores of alleged looters and vandals.

Far-right group calls for safe and sober vigilantism

Other cities where looters had rampaged earlier this week also came through the night largely unscathed, though for the first time minor disturbances were reported in Wales.

Also on Wednesday, tensions flared in Birmingham, where a murder probe was opened after three men were killed in a hit-and-run incident as they took to the streets to defend shops from looting.

Chris Sims, chief constable of West Midlands Police, said a man had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Are London looters unloading on Craigslist?

The violence has revived debate about the Conservative-led government's austerity measures, which will slash 80 billion pounds ($130 billion) from public spending by 2015 to reduce the country's swollen budget deficit.

Cameron's government has slashed police budgets as part of the cuts. A report last month said the cuts will mean 16,000 fewer police officers by 2015.

London Mayor Boris Johnson — like Cameron, a Conservative — broke with the government to say such cuts are wrong.

"That case was always pretty frail and it has been substantially weakened," he told BBC radio. "This is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Vigilantes take to the streets in London

  1. Transcript of: Vigilantes take to the streets in London

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Now to London and that city's violent riots. Police raided the homes overnight of people suspected of being involved in the violence as vigilantes took to the streets to protect their neighborhoods. NBC 's Michelle Kosinski is in London this morning again with more on this story. Michelle , good morning.

    MICHELLE KOSINSKI reporting: Hi, Ann. You know, the rioters have essentially been gangs of teenagers, armed with bricks, not guns. So the fact that this has been a failure for police is so outrageously stunning to British citizens that some are now forming groups to protect themselves. Is Britain really broken as some would say? Or could this really happen anywhere? What looks like more rioting is actually now police chasing bands of vigilantes seeking justice.

    Unidentified Man #1: We're here for one reason, to stick up for our families.

    KOSINSKI: And getting lots of support.

    Unidentified Man #2: They need backup.

    KOSINSKI: Some turned on police. These guys armed themselves with swords. Others hunted looters. These threw rocks at teenagers just riding a bus. Britons are fighting back against the so-called yobs, looters, hooligans, many just children, who for four nights turned cities into war zones.

    Unidentified Man #3: And all they want to do is kill, take, steal, and rob from their own and from people who are working hard.

    Unidentified Woman #1: ...there's no more room for it.

    Mayor BORIS JOHNSON: I know that.

    Woman #1: There's no more room for it.

    KOSINSKI: In Birmingham , where three young men were run over protecting their street, the father of one spoke out.

    Unidentified Man #4: I lost my son. Blacks, Asians , whites, we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another?

    KOSINSKI: The prime minister offered this:

    Prime Minister DAVID CAMERON: When we see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, it is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society.

    KOSINSKI: Youth unemployment here just hit a record high. Many are bored or seething.

    Unidentified Man #5: They feel they've got no future, they've got nothing to lose.

    Unidentified Woman #2: They would rather steal it than go out and work for it and earn it.

    KOSINSKI: And the level of violence has been sickening. This man is now in critical condition, beaten trying to stop rioters. The bleeding victim here, a Malaysian student in the UK one month, was just attacked, his bicycle stolen. Those seeming to help are robbing him. Others join. He's now awaiting surgery. Thee government vows to crack down after the fact through prosecution. And getting some help online from more citizens willing to turn in their young neighbors.

    Unidentified Man #6: You have to set an example because we have to punish some people to stop this mess.

    KOSINSKI: Every single day here in England , we have heard people say, you know what, this would never happen in America because the police would put a stop to it. They say that's what they need here. Just this morning, the prime minister said they're going to take a closer look at cities like Boston as examples on how to deal with gang problems. Ann :

    CURRY: All right. Michelle Kosinski , such a sad tragedy there. Thank you so much .

Photos: Summer of 2011: Riots break out in UK

loading photos...
  1. A double decker bus burns as riot police try to contain a large group of people on a main road in Tottenham, north London, on August 6, 2011. Masked youths went on the rampage after a peaceful protest against the killing of a 29-year-old local man by police. (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Police officers wearing riot gear stand in front of a burning building in Tottenham, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Stefan Wermuth / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Aaron Biber, 89, assesses damage to his hairdressing salon after riots on Tottenham High Road, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Residents watch as a building burns after riots in Tottenham, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A police officer patrols as firemen dowse buildings set ablaze during riots in Tottenham, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Luke Macgregor / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Police cordon off an area in Enfield, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Karel Prinsloo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Youths throw bricks at police in Enfield, north London, on August 7, 2011. (Karel Prinsloo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A girl is detained outside Currys electrical store in Brixton, south London, on August 8, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. People loot a Carhartt store in Hackney, north London, on August 8, 2011. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Police officers in riot gear block a road near a burning car in Hackney, north London, on August 8, 2011. (Luke MacGregor / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A resident films a police officer on his mobile phone during disturbances in Hackney, north London, on August 8, 2011. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Residents flee Clarence Road in Hackney, north London, on August 8, 2011. (Dan Istitene / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A police officer helps an injured colleague as rioters gather in Croydon, south London, on August 8, 2011. (Sang Tan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An injured man is treated by medical staff after being arrested for looting in an electronic shop in south London on August 8, 2011. (Simon Dawson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Looters rummage through a convenience store in Hackney, east London, on August 8, 2011. (Olivia Harris / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Police clear an area in London's Ealing neighborhood while patrolling the streets on August 8, 2011. (Ming Yeung / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Looters run from a clothing store in Peckham, London, on August 8, 2011. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Police stand guard at the Mailbox shopping and hotel complex in Birmingham city center on August 8, 2011. (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Police arrest a man as rioters gather in Croydon, south London, on August 8, 2011. (Sang Tan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A woman jumps from a burning building on Surrey Street during rioting in Croydon, south London, on August 8, 2011. (Amy Weston / WENN.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Police patrol the streets as a large fire engulfs shops and homes in Croydon on August 9, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Firefighters battle a large blaze that broke out in shops and homes in the London neighborhood of Croydon on August 9, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The remains of destroyed vehicles are removed from streets in Hackney, north London on August 9, 2011. (Chris Helgren / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Aerial photograph of a Sony distribution center engulfed in flames on August 9, 2011 in Enfield, north London. The warehouse was set alight by rioters the previous night. (David Goddard / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Looters carry boxes out of a home cinema shop in central Birmingham on August 9, 2011. (Darren Staples / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. London residents launch a clean-up operation on August 9, 2011 around Hackney Town Hall in east London to clear up after the rioting that took place the previous night. (Nick Cunard / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Residents wait to be allowed through a police barricade to help council workers with the clean up after the rioting that took place the previous night outside Clapham Junction railway station in Battersea, London on August 9, 2011. (Matt Dunham / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. An aerial photograph shows devastation in London Road, Croydon on August 9, 2011. (David Goddard / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. A neighbor cries as she looks at the devastation left by the riots in the area of Clapham in London on August 9, 2011. (Elizabeth Dalziel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Police detain a man in central Birmingham on August 9, 2011. Looting and clashes with police continued for a fourth night. (Darren Staples / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A rioter walks through a burning barricade in Liverpool on August 9, 2011. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. London Mayor Boris Johnson, left, talks with Leon Fearon, right, 19, from Lewisham, during a tour of the devastation in riot-hit Clapham, south London on August 9, 2011. (Nick Ansell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Police restrain a man in Manchester on August 9, 2011 after trouble in the city center. (Dave Thompson / PA via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Men angry about recent rioting and looting come out in Eltham, south London to protect their properties on August 9, 2011. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Hundreds of messages of support from the community of Peckham are seen posted on a looted storefront in south London on August 10, 2011. (Chris Helgren / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. People clean up the Manchester city center on August 10, 2011 following a fourth night of violence. (Andrew Yates / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. A police officer speaks to a woman in Birmingham on August 10, 2011 after three Asian men were hit by a car and killed. Witnesses said they died while trying to protect their community from looters. (Paul Ellis / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Police officers question men during a routine stop and search operation on August 10, 2011 in Hackney, north London. An eerie calm prevailed over most of London as night fell, with a highly visible police presence throughout the city. (Karel Prinsloo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Police officers detain a man in Eltham, south London, on August 10, 2011. (Stefan Wermuth / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Police officers search the crime scene where Haroon Jahan and two other Asian men were hit by a car and killed in the early hours in Birmingham on August 10, 2011. (Carl De Souza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Tarmiq Jahan, father of Haroon Jahan, gives a statement to the media near the crime scene where Haroon and two other Asian men were hit by a car and killed in the early hours in Birmingham on August 10, 2011. (Carl De Souza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Community members lay flowers at the scene of a hit and run following civil disturbances in the Winson Green area of Birmingham on August 11, 2011. Police are continuing investigations after three people - reportedly trying to protect shops from rioting and looting in Dudley Road - were struck by a car. (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Metropolitan Police officers arrest a suspect after carrying out a raid on a property on the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico in London on August 11, 2011 during Operation Woodstock. Police hope to recover property stolen during the recent civil disturbances in the capital. Police began raiding houses across London to make arrests over the riots that rocked the British capital, with more than 100 warrants issued already, a senior Scotland Yard officer said. (Anthony Devlin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Metropolitan Police officers hold bags containing a pair of Nike shoes and Hugo Boss clothing including jeans, shirts, a coat and a bag during a raid on a property on the Churchill Gardens estate in Pimlico, London during Operation Woodstock on August 11, 2011. Over 1,000 people have been arrested since rioting began Aug. 6. Police have started to raid properties across the capital as they round up people suspected of involvement in the rioting and recover stolen property. (Wpa Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Offenders sentenced for their roles in recent United Kingdom disturbances, shown August 11, 2011 in these photographs from the Greater Manchester Police, include (top, left to right) Aaron Grima, jailed for four months for assaulting a police officer; Paul Obonyano, jailed for 14 weeks for assaulting a police officer and a public order offense; Bernard Moore, sentenced to 20 weeks for assaulting a police officer; Eoin Flanagan, sentenced to eight months for stealing clothes; (bottom, left to right) Jason Ullett, sentenced to 10 weeks for a section 4 public order offense; Tom Skinkis, sentenced for four months for a section 4 public order offense; Ricky Gemmell, sentenced to 16 weeks in youth custody for a section 4 public order offense; and Paul Ruane, jailed for eight weeks for handling stolen goods. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments