An uneasy calm prevailed over Britain’s cities on Thursday after four days of rioting and looting, with security being beefed up and a stern warning from Prime Minister David Cameron that law and order will be restored at any cost.Cameron has convened a special session of parliament to discuss the worst riots in England in decades even as tensions remained high in the violence-hit areas but no major incidents were reported.
Cameron, who vowed to “fight back” to crush the unrest, is expected to outline further measures to deal with recent disorder.
Preliminary estimate of the extent of loss was nearly 200 million pounds, British media reported. Under the little known 1886 Riot Damages Act insurance companies, individuals and businesses can reclaim their losses from local police authorities.
Police have arrested more than 1,000 people and charged nearly 300 in connection with violence in London and other parts.
Cameron, who cut short his holiday in Tuscany to tackle the biggest challenge confronting his 15-month old coalition government, said contingency plans have been put in place for making available water canons at short notice. Police has already been authorised to use plastic bullets for the first time against rioters.
Parliament has been convened for an emergency debate on the riots that have engulfed London and later spread across Britain.
It is the second time in less than a month that MPs have been recalled for an emergency session – the first was for the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World newspaper.
Meanwhile, cities across Britain remained largely quiet last night after the prime minister vowed to deploy what he called the toughest measures possible to stamp out the violence. A surge in police numbers helped to calm streets.
Courts in London, Manchester and Birmingham worked throughout the night to deal with hundreds of people arrested. The first two criminals convicted for the looting and violence sweeping England were jailed on Wednesday.
A huge police operation and heavy rain in some areas appear to have prevented a fifth night of disorder.
Up to 250 officers are sent from Scotland to help colleagues in the Midlands and North of England deal with rioting and disorder.
Cameron on Wednesday vowed to fight back to crush the unrest after it spread to central and northern cities from London, even as the focus on checking violence shifted to Birmingham, where the killing of three Asian-origin men generated racial tensions.
The three men — Haroon Jahan, 21, Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, — died on Wednesday after being hit by a car while protecting property.
Rampaging youths with their face covered to avoid identification were seen carrying electronic items, clothes and other luxury goods from stores.
Cameron asserted that the “culture of fear” will not take over the streets.
Cameron will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee and discuss the violence with cabinet ministers before making a statement on the rioting during an emergency session of parliament today.
He is expected to give details of financial help for people who have lost homes or businesses.
The riots first flared on Saturday after a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, by police.
The riots that have blighted Britain’s image abroad and raised questions about its ability to hold a trouble-free Olympics next year.