HMIC review of UK summer riots says police forces were not well prepared for ‘widespread, fast-moving’ attacks
Serious consideration needs to be given to the use of plastic bullets and water cannon to deal with public disorder for the first time outside of Northern Ireland, the official review of police tactics into the summer riots has recommended.
The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), commissioned by the home secretary, concludes that the police were not well prepared for the “widespread, fast-moving and opportunistic criminal attacks on property” seen during the August riots that scarred many English cities.
The review says that the lack of equipment and the number of officers deployed hindered the police response. Some forces ran out of shields and some police vehicles lacked reinforced grilles.
The chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Denis O’Connor, said that a radical switch in police tactics was needed to prepare for a likely repeat of the summer riots with rapid retraining programmes put in place in higher risk, urban areas before the Olympics.
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