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Parliament recalled after four days of rioting

Parliament has been recalled today to debate the violence over the past four days.

Prime Minister David Cameron addressed MPs this morning, stating that cuts to police budgets remain necessary and will not be reversed in the face of the disorder. He warned that rioters will face the consequences of their actions and be brought to justice.

Cameron has said he will address the use of social networking sites in spreading the violence and the police will remain out in force this weekend to protect citizens and fix the ‘broken society’.

He admitted that the police had initially been slow to react, and were dealing with rioters with ‘public order policing’ instead of treating it as criminal behaviour.

In the aftermath of the riots, Labour MPs urged the Government to rethink the planned cuts to police. There will be a 20% cut in central government funding over the next four years, including police numbers being reduced by 34,100, according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday: "If you ask me if I think there is a case for cutting police budgets in light of these events then my answer to that would be no - I think that case was always pretty frail and it has been substantially weakened."

Labour MPs have been campaigning on stopping the police cuts, and fears have been raised that the cuts in officer numbers will prevent the deployment of so many at once to deal with future riots or similar incidents. Both Cameron, and deputy PM Nick Clegg, have rejected that argument.

But Labour’s Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, told the BBC: “It is affecting front-line policing and I think it's a mistake ... Nobody's saying that police cuts motivated somebody to go and smash in the window of a sports store, but it may be that police cuts actually make it harder for us to restore order and to maintain order and to deal with these criminal problems when they arise.”

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(image c. World Economic Forum)


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