London riots spread to northern cities as police issue stark warnings [VIDEO]
While a massive police showing seems to have largely deterred a fourth night of rioting in London, three youths died after being hit by a car during riots in Birmingham.
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Police presence: Too little too late?
“It’s good to see so many police on the streets, but where were they last night when everything was going off?" asks lawyer Samantha Jones, who lives in the area. "People were definitely fearful last night about what happened and frightened. This area is normally really buzzy this time of night, but not tonight. I don’t know whether they’re still scared or intimidated by all the police but people seem to just want to go home … like me.”Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Britain riots
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A tour around other London areas saw a familiar pattern: Vast numbers of police, many from other cities, patrolled on foot or in vans, largely with nothing to do.
In multiethnic Brixton, which was the scene of violence on Sunday night, officers in fluorescent jackets were spread out along the main street and neighboring roads, 30 paces apart in an obvious show of force.
Benjamin Abraham, a teenager from Brixton, said he felt uncomfortable with the policy. “There was a bit trouble here but nothing major, nothing like what happened in [the nearby neighborhoods of] Ealing and Croydon,” he said.
Pointing at police lines he added: “It’s a bit over the top but I suppose if it stops any trouble it’s not a bad thing. We shouldn’t be smashing up our neighborhood – where does that get us?”
The mood on the streets was the same in other areas of south London such as Tooting, Stockwell, Kennington, Streatham, Battersea, and Colliers Wood. Vans and cars full of officers parked in high streets and side roads with police killing time, interspersed with the odd siren and flashing lights.
At around 1 a.m. local time Wednesday morning the hordes of police vehicles began to pull out of their designated spots and gather at rendezvous points, job done.
The Metropolitan Police will rightly view it as a success after the previous three nights of trouble, which so far has seen nearly 700 arrests and more than 110 officers injured in the capital following the fatal shooting of suspected gangster Mark Duggan in Tottenham last Thursday.