Arrest total from British riots is around 1,700

Los Angeles Times

British police and law courts working round the clock continue rounding up rioters that laid waste to homes and businesses throughout the country this week.

By midday Friday arrests totaled around 1,700, but a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said “that number is changing all the time.”

In London on Friday morning police arrested a man in connection with the murder of 68-year-old Richard Mannington Bowes, who was severely beaten by rioters Monday night. He died in a hospital in the early hours of Friday, bringing to five the death toll from four nights of rioting.

Photos: Four nights of riots


Across northern England in Manchester, Salford and Liverpool, police have arrested over 200 so far, and in Birmingham in central England, West Midlands police say arrests total 467.

Courts in London have been working day and night to process a stream of riot-linked arrests, most involving charges of burglary, theft and arson, with some murder charges.

Sentences are swiftly carried out or cases referred to youth courts in the case of minors, and magistrates’ courts pass on some serious cases to higher courts with tougher sentencing power.

Courts are flooded with a huge variety of suspects -- from hooded youths with previous convictions to middle-class students, young professionals, adult working people and teenagers and children, some as young as 11 and 12. Often they are brought in by family members.

Most defendants are denied bail, or let go with a fine, but sentences are swift and mostly tough -- one boy caught with a case of bottled water looted from a supermarket was given a six-month jail sentence.

Many of those allowed out on bail left courts surrounded by TV cameras, covering their heads. Others were openly defiant and hurled abuse at the press crowds.

Politicians are busy looking for social remedies to the violence, with Prime Minister David Cameron reported to be looking to former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton for advice on gang culture as he told Parliament in his Thursday address.

In a statement from his office later Thursday, Bratton said he would be honored to help.


On Friday morning, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was visiting a small police station in the northern county of Nottingham that had been firebombed Tuesday. Opposition leader Ed Miliband toured Brixton, ravaged by violence on Monday night .

Police were quick to answer Cameron’s statement Thursday in which he spoke of their being taken unaware and unprepared for Saturday night’s violence.

Hugh Orde, a senior police officer and a former police chief of Northern Ireland’s police force, said, “This was a new set of circumstances?. The tactics decided by chief officers and their staff ? and the robust policing tactics we chose to adopt, delivered,” he said in a BBC interview. He angrily dismissed suggestions that it took politicians returning from vacation to give the police the necessary powers.

“The fact that politicians chose to come back [from holiday] is an irrelevance in terms of the tactics that were by then developing,” he said. It was not in Home Secretary Theresa May’s power to cancel police leave, he said.


Photos: Four nights of riots