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Cameron announces 10,000 extra police officers will be on London's streets tonight

By Tim Montgomerie
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Appearing outside Number 10 the Prime Minister has just described the violence as "sickening" and, pure and simple "criminality".

He confirmed that all Metropolitan Police leave had been cancelled and that, tonight, the number of officers would increase from 6,000 to 16,000.

He promised that there would be many more arrests and that justice would be done. He warned the rioters that they weren't just wrecking their communities but also, potentially, their own lives.

He also announced the recall of parliament for one day, on Thursday.

My reaction: "My instinct is that this wasn't strong enough. The police have no tools for riot control. They don't need water cannon - it won't work on such mobile crowds - but they do need rubber bullets and tear gas. A rubber bullet feels like you've been hit by a sledge hammer. That's what some of these thugs need and the army is trained to deliver it. Cameron should have said that the police from Northern Ireland would be coming to the capital to help ensure the thugs on London's streets felt the rod. The Army should be used to provide snatch squads which would go into the crowds and pick out ringleaders. Throughout London today the police should be raiding the homes of known gangleaders in an effort to decapitate these protests. Cameron has gambled. He's still trusting the techniques of the Met. If disturbances are stopped his gamble will have paid off and credit to him. If violence continues he will need to consider tougher measures such as those I've suggested.

Finally I'm not convinced by the decision to recall parliament. Unless laws need to be changed it risks looking like a gesture."

12.45pm: Video of Cameron's statement.


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