UK and London riots: Night four as-it-happened

Police numbers will be tripled on the streets of major urban centres in preparation for a fourth night of rioting.
Police numbrs will be tripled on the streets of major urban centres fin preparation for a fourth night of rioting.e

Stay with politics.co.uk for minute-by-minute coverage of the fourth night of potential disorder in the capital.

By Alex Stevenson , Phil Scullion and Ian Dunt


16:31 - Good afternoon and welcome to one of those live blogs we hadn't planned to do and obviously don't want to. If you've been online today you'll know that rumours are flying around like wildfire. All someone has to do is flick a cigarette in a bin and it'll be reported all over the place. We will be presenting you with calm, dispassionate reports of what we can confirm is going on. We hope this will be a short-lived blog covering the effectiveness of the heightened police numbers across the capital and other cities. You will understand why we're not currently assuming that that will be the case.

16:36 - I'm Ian Dunt and I'll be with you until around 6pm, when Alex Stevenson will be taking over the live blog and I go to the various points we think are worth reporting on in the city. I'll bring you as much information from there as I can but we'll also be collating information from social media and other websites and broadcasters. If you want a bit of background from last night and today's developments, just go to the front page, which should have about as much content as you can handle.


16:39 - I just popped out to grab a coffee and I can say that I've never heard so many people in London all having the same conversation. From around 20 snippets of chatter, it was obvious everyone was talking about the same thing. In a place as diverse and varied as London, that in itself is remarkable. But then, the capital has never really seen anything like this. Most shops are starting to close now. The media companies we're in regular contact with are sending home most of their workers so they can lock up before it gets dark. It's almost like a fairy tale where the village know the monster only arrives at night. In places as far apart as Kingston and Chelsea, shops are shut up and the place is quiet. Maybe it'll be that way all night.

16:52 - The Met has put up photos of the people it wants to speak to on their website or on Flickr. You can call the major investigation team on 020 8345 4142 or use Crimestoppers to report it anonymously on 0800 555 111.

17:00 - I'm hearing unconfirmed reports that Blackberry have agreed to drop their instant messaging system for tonight. I'll try and confirm that in a moment but for a bit of background - most people on the ground say that the system is by far the most popular with the rioters, because it is free, communicates information about location instantly and come bundled in a handset which is cheaper than the iPhone. Unlike Twitter, it is a closed system so the authorities struggle to access the communication. Many voices have called for the suspension and Blackberry, who are usually very conscious of their users' privacy, offered a surprising statement yesterday saying they would help the authorities in any way they could. There are strong civil liberties arguments for not doing so, by the way, most of which concern the 'slippery path' argument of allowing the state and the private sector to suddenly close off communications. The British government has been extremely critical when authoritarian regimes in the Middle East adopted a similar tactic during recent uprisings.

17:10 - Well I'm sorry I wrote all that background, because I've spoken to Blackberry and they're saying they haven't heard anything official about a cancellation of the service. They've been seeing the same reports we have but the press officers are certain they would have been notified if the decision had been taken.

17:13 - On the subject of rumours and whispers, Manchester police say reports of 'stand of'' between gangs and police in Salford have been exaggerated. Twenty or so youths were dispersed by police, with just one brick being thrown.

17:21 - Latest arrest figures from the Met: "There have been 563 arrests to date and 105 people charged." More details have just come in from the Independent Police Complaints Commission on the killing of Mark Duggan, which triggered the original riots on Saturday night. I'm going to have a close look and let you know what they say - it's a very long statement.

17:25 - The IPCC say there is no evidence he shot at police before he was killed. That tallies with what we've heard, or rather not heard, from the police themselves. At no point has the Met claimed he opened fire. He did have a gun, though - a converted BBM 'Bruni' self loading pistol with a 'bulleted cartridge' in the magazine. This doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know but it does confirm the reports we've been hearing for several days. One of the Met's Specialist Firearms Command (CO19) officrs fired both shots at the scene. One hit Mr Duggan in the chest, killing him. The other wounded him in the bicep and lodged in a police radio. The operation took place while Mr Duggan was travelling as a passenger in a minicab. "The minicab driver was not physically injured, but was badly shaken by what he saw," the statement says. "His account along with that of the officers is being examined along with the emerging forensic evidence."

17:38 - If you like using Amazon you'll find the following link quite disconcerting, I'm afraid. It shows that baseball bats are selling like hotcakes. The most popular item, the Rucanor aluminium baseball bat, has risen 5,149%. Quite a weird disconnect between tweets from Manchester police saying everything's fine in Salford and those from well-respected reliable BBC hacks saying it's all kicking off. 

17:49 - The Met has responded to the IPCC statement. Here it is in full: "It is in the interest of everyone, the family of Mr Duggan, the public and the police that the IPCC are able to establish to all the facts of the events of last Thursday so that there is a complete understanding of what happened. We appreciate that it is frustrating for people to have to wait for the outcome of the investigation but it is important that the investigation is full and thorough, and the MPS doing everything possible to assist with that process. In accordance with post incident procedures the CO19 officers involved are not currently performing an operational role. We would also like to take this opportunity to appeal for calm, Mr Duggan's family have publicly stated that they do not in any way condone the violence we have witnessed on the streets of London. There can be no excuses for this behaviour."

17:54 - OK, that's it from me. I'll pass you onto Alex Stevenson. I should be reporting back from new areas in a couple of hours or so. Let's hope we have a boring evening, not least of all so I can go down the pub instead. For those of you outside: stay safe.

18:00 - Hello there, I'm Alex Stevenson. Taking over the proverbial baton from Ian Dunt, who is preparing to don a hoodie, presumably to blend in. Let's hope this evening isn't as bad as we all fear it could be.

18:02 - And we begin with the news that there's been some looting in Salford, where a number of shops have been attacked. A BBC cameraman has been assaulted, the Beeb has reported. An ominous start to the evening.

18:05 - The Met have just issued an update on the number of officers who've been injured in the first three days of rioting. It's not great news. A staggering 111 have been reported injured. They've been attacked by missiles as diverse as bricks, bottles and even planks of wood. "Injuries range from fractured bones, serious head injuries, concussion, cuts and sprains, even injured eyes from smashed and thrown glass."

18:08 - It's not just police officers who have been injured, either. Five police dogs were injured as they went about their duty. One, Linpol Luke, was hit by a thrown brick and has sustained a severe head injury. Marshfield Mia was injured after being hit by a thrown bottle. The Met says: "Both dogs were injured on duty on Sunday. On Monday, Minstrel Blaze, Quirk Ruby and Zach all sustained injuries, including broken teeth and cuts from thrown missiles."

18:15 - The Met's deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh has issued some more comments, in which he appeals once again to parents to get their children inside. Earlier today he was agonising about the problems of firing rubber bullets at 11-year-old children who were out last night. Here's what he has to say:

"We will be out there tonight doing our very best for you.

"The commissioner and his top team worked through the night to make sure we have seriously considered every tactical option available to us. We will consider every option we have to keep you safe.

"I'd repeat my urge for parents to know where your children are - do not let them get caught up in this thrill seeking thuggery. If you are out tonight please help us - give us the space we need to work in.

"If you have been one of those people who believe you are above the law and have the right to rob, damage and scare people let me make it clear our investigation team is determined to come and track you down.

"I would like to remark upon the considerable bravery and resilience shown by members of our community overnight. People intervening to make their disgust known about the activities of these mindless yobs. Our officers, and crew from Fire and Ambulance all demonstrated their bravery, as they were attacked whilst trying to protect our streets."

18:18 - Greater Manchester police have been doing their best to downplay reports of violence in Salford. "Inaccurate speculation and exaggerated reporting causing unnecessary fear in our communities," they've tweeted. "Reports of 'stand off' between gangs and police in Salford exaggerated. 20 or so youths dispersed by police - one brick thrown, no injuries."

18:25 - Here's a bit more from that DAC Kavanagh statement. "This morning was a dark morning to wake to in London. No one should wake in this wonderful city of ours to see such scenes of devastation and violence. There are many individual stories over the last three days that have yet to come out - the loss of homes, properties and even livelihoods.

"Last night the Met faced scenes of unprecedented violence and disorder, from North to South and East to West in our Capital. We were stretched.

"Today what I would like to say to Londoners is the Met has worked hard throughout the night to make every officer possible available to be out on our streets."

The 'stretched' quote is interesting. In the press briefing at New Scotland Yard which I attended this lunchtime it was clear that the tactic there was to avoid apologising or suggesting the Met had 'failed'. To be fair, they're dealing with unprecedented levels of violence. 'Stretched' isn't stretching the point at all.

18:30 - An interesting development in the race to the top of the e-petitions leaderboard, in the initiative's second week. Just 3,000 signatures short of the top e-petition is one from Stephen Mains, with nearly 18,500 signatures, which proposes that "convicted London rioters should loose all benefits". You can sign it, if you so desire, here.

18:34 - Greater Manchester police have confirmed that there is trouble in the city centre, reports Sky News. This appears to be a separate development from that of Salford. ACCSweeney says on Twitter: "Aware of pockets of minor disorder in Salford/city centre. Advising people to stay out of city centre but also keep calm." The BBC are reporting that a crowd of troublemakers are gathering.

18:38 - There's going to be another meeting of the Cabinet's emergency committee, Cobra, tomorrow morning at 09:00 - 24 hours after the last one.

18:46 - Here's this from Phil: A leaflet is understood to have been pushed through doors in Ealing calling for residents to act as vigilantes. Its author, who signed the leaflet 'Libby', said: "From 6pm tonight please show your presence by peacefully patrolling the roads. If you see any trouble please sound your car horn." She adds: "we will not be terrorised".

18:52 - Some more news from the Met, now, who said earlier today that they were seriously concerned by the condition of a man in his mid-40s who had been the victim of a violent assault in Ealing last night.

They're now appealing for witnesses and information following the incident. The details are as follows: "Officers were in Springbridge Road at approx 22:45hrs on Monday 8 August to deal with spontaneous violent disorder, when they became aware of a man in his mid 40s-50s being attacked." The victim was thought to have been remonstrating with teenagers who were setting fire to two industrial bins. "The victim was assaulted and fell to the ground. The suspect is described as black." The victim remains in a critical condition.

"Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8721 4205; or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

18:57 - The riots aren't great news for music fans, with artists and record labels facing "hardship" after a warehouse was burned down in north London last night. Sony and Universal Music are sending their staff home early, hypebot.com reports.

19:03 - There's a fair amount of excitement in some quarters about the riots, that's for sure. Not necessarily approving - just amused by these extraordinary scenes. Like this tweet from JoeMCassidy: "I've just seen Batman, Lion-o and She-Ra patrolling Mare Street in Hackney, don't bother here tonight lads #londonriots" The question is whether that spirit is going to motivate many more young people on to the streets, just out of curiosity. The police are certainly hoping they'll keep clear.

19:06 - Disturbances are being reported in West Bromwich, as well as Canning Town in east London. Telegraph journalist Christopher Williams says six riot gangs are arriving. Meanwhile, Harvey Nicholls in Birmingham is reportedly under attack from looters.

19:10 - Looks like there's serious worries about riots even right in the centre of London - @krizleywheatnik tweets - "Just went past The Ritz on Piccadilly & all the shutters are down on their ground floor windows. #londonriots" Shops are shutting up early in Canary Wharf, too.

19:15 - It's not just the police who are doing an astonishing job. Let's not forget the firefighters, too, who the Chief Fire Officers' Association says are "heavily involved" in the aftermath of the riots, as well as the cleanup operation.

Here's a quote from Peter Holland, CFOA president: "We are very proud of all our firefighters who are doing a fantastic job in the most difficult of circumstances. Indeed I was told today about one female firefighter in London who had her motor scooter stolen by rioters on her way to a night shift yesterday evening. Amazingly and to her great credit she continued her journey on public transport as she didn't want to miss her shift."

19:19 - Miss Selfridge on Market Street in Manchester is on fire, the BBC is reporting. We've been hearing news of trouble in central Manchester for the last hour or so. Separately, the situation in Salford is escalating, too. Mike McCarthy for Sky News reports that several hundred protestors are gathered close to the shops in the centre of Salford. Youths are cycling up and down, faces covered, throwing rocks at police in riot gear. At least one vehicle is on fire.

19:23 - Staying up north, we've had a statement through from Greater Manchester police's Assistant Chief Constable Assistant Chief Constable:

19:32 - There's a grim air of anticipation on Twitter, although not everyone is downcast. "Compared to this time yesterday, everything seems much calmer. Many saying planned riots have been called off due to police numbers." That's from @jane__bradley, a producer at BBC London. On the other hand, @richardpfranks is more gloomy: "What didn't get smashed in #Birmingham last night, is getting smashed tonight. Terrible scenes... stay safe. #ukriots"

19:36 - There appears to be a soundbite emerging from Waterstones, the bookshop chain, which is getting a lot of retweets. "We'll stay open, if they steal some books they might learn something". That's the spirit!

19:39 - Some more from that GMP statement from ACC Sweeney, touching on the use of Twitter by rioters to organise themselves. "I again want to remind people to follow GMP's official responses on our social networking sites and not believe some of the rumours and speculation," he adds.

"Such gossip is unhelpful and causing unnecessary fear in our communities. We have already made one arrest of a man on suspicion of using Facebook to incite disorder and we will not hesitate to arrest anyone involved in this type of criminal activity."

"Greater Manchester police has been engaged with dealing with outbreaks of minor disorder in Salford and Manchester city centre this afternoon, involving a small number of youths.

"A handful of shops have been attacked by groups of youths who have congregated and seem intent on committing disorder.

"As we have said, we will not allow such mindless criminal damage and wanton violence to go unpunished and we will arrest and prosecute anyone found to be involved in looting or acts of criminal damage.

"Increased numbers of officers are on the ground both responding to any incidents and dispersing any groups of youths before they commit any crimes. We have already made a number of arrests and will continue to target those who seem determined to commit disorder." 

19:43 - Some really interesting points being made by Dr Matthew Ashton, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, in his blog post on the role of social media.

"Just because someone is told to do something illegal, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to do it unless the person telling them has a great deal of influence over them," he writes.

"Even if they then did go out and commit an act of violence it would be staggeringly difficult to prove that it was a direct result of them reading one particular tweet.

"However if someone is bombarded with dozens or even hundreds of tweets from lots of different people inciting them to riot then this might have a cumulative effect somewhat akin to peer pressure."

19:48 - Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, tells the BBC: "I can only deplore this appalling criminal activity. This serves us no useful purpose and it's not what the people of Manchester either want or, frankly, deserve." Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News is reporting that firefighters are battling with six fires in Salford.

19:56 - Gripping phone call taking place on BBC News, as an eyewitness in central Manchester called Brian describes being charged at by police. It seems the standoff between police and the rioters is now ending, with the police going on the offensive. Manchester is really emerging as the focus of violence so far this evening - it's relatively quiet in London.

20:01 - The Times are reporting that a 23-year-old man has been arrested in Bournemouth on suspicion of incitement to riot. Dorset police said the arrest followed "reports of information being forwarded by an electronic device regarding a potential planned disorder in the town centre". Separately, we understand Essex police have made an arrest on the same grounds.

20:05 - There hasn't been much of a racial motif so far, but the Guardian's Paul Lewis is reporting that there is a definite racial element in Enfield. "100 white men, 30s-40s, sprinting along Hertford Rd. Shouts of 'Get the Pakis'," he tweets. One man in his 40s, held back by police, is quoted as saying: "They're rats, they're rats. They mugged my auntie last night... they're just blokes from the pub chasing a way the black kids that been causing the trouble."

20:07 - Sunny Hundal, editor of the Liberal Conspiracy blog and a regular contributor to Guardian, has an interesting take on the riots. He predicts that tonight in London will not be anywhere near as bad as last night, which he says will prove that previous nights were a result of perceived police "weakness".

20:12 - West Midlands police have confirmed that 20 arrests have been made so far in Wolverhampton. There have been some reports of attacks on shops there, with a large group of people gathered in the city centre. Meanwhile, Mark Brown of the Guardian has reported that all is quiet in Hackney but he added that it is "slightly bizarre watching Greater Manchester police vans on London streets given what's going on in Salford".

20:16 - A bit more from West Midlands police about violence in Birmingham, where large gangs are rioting in several areas within the city centre. "There have been some shops attacked, and there is also a report of a car having been set alight in Moor Street," the force says. "A large team of officers are working in the city centre to restore calm and bring the city back to normality. Police have currently arrested three people in Birmingham city centre."

20:18 - A tweet from Greater Manchester police: "Captured lots of criminals on CCTV - we will identify you and we will be coming for you."

20:19 - All the reports from London suggest the situation is relatively calm. Canning Town is dying down, while Oxford Circus - the scene of brief trouble two nights ago - is almost deserted. Only tourists around, it seems...

20:25 - Hazel Blears, Salford MP, suggested earlier that the rioters' copycat behaviour is partly the fault of "blanket" media coverage, in that it only encourages them. I wonder whether it's just the phone-hacking scandal, but it certainly feels like there's a real readiness to criticise reporters who are just doing their jobs.

Actually, this issue of the media's influence on perceptions of crime more generally is something I was looking into at the end of last week. My feature on it included an interview with former policing minister David Hanson, who effectively blamed the media for the gap between the reality of falling crime and perceptions that it was rising at the national level...

20:29 - All quiet in London so far, but shopkeepers across the capital will be extremely nervous this evening. The Met has this handy advice for businesses:

1. Where possible retail premises should be suitably staffed with security guards.
2. Ensure staff report any suspicious activity to security and/or police.
3. Consider regular checks of the building and surrounding area.
4. Identify areas that are vulnerable to forced entry.
5. Make sure all service doors are kept locked and secure when not in use
6. Ensure your CCTV system fully operational.
7. In case of an emergency is there a record of the names of keyholders who can be contacted.
8. Consider removing high value goods from display windows overnight.
9. Consider keeping as little cash as possible on the premises.
10. Ensure that your premises are secure and if fitted your alarm systems are fully operational.
11. In the event of a non emergency, call the police on non emergency number 101.
12. In the event of an emergency, call the emergency number 999.
13. If you have any information you wish to provide to police anonymously you can contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

20:34 - Footage has emerged which just about sums up the intelligence levels of the rioters, which you can watch here.

Alternatively, and on an even lighter note, it's not just humans who are engaged in very seriously criminality...

20:42 - An interesting blogpost from Talksport's Sean Dilley, who is claiming that the Met's 16,000 figure is greatly exaggerated.

"At the time of writing, the Met are still telling the PM that they will have 16,000 Officers on duty overnight, but the reality of the situation seems to be that the Met have struggled to free up enough officers," he writes.

"And as a result, unless the Met can pull what I understand to be an impossible rabbit out of a hat, the Prime Minister will have egg on his face, and if Tim Godwin is in any way responsible for throwing that egg, it seems unlikely that he’ll be Acting as Commissioner for much longer."

20:47 - Sky News reports that around a 100 youths looted shoe shop Footasylum in Manchester's Arndale Centre. Presumably after designer trainers. Sums the whole thing up really.

The Mirror is reporting that the looters dispersed towards Deansgate when a police van arrived at the scene.

20:52 - Labour backbencher Graham Stringer is breaking ranks and speaking out against the police. Referring to the Miss Selfridge shop burning in Manchester, the Blackley and Broughton MP tells the BBC: "Certainly the police have a lot of questions to answer about why there is a shop on fire, where there has been a lot of damage to property... when we've known about it all day."

20:57 - @Claire Ashforth, an ITV Granda correspondent, is having a tough time in Salford: She tweeted: "Jeez. Our cameraman, @verdycam 's car has just been torched in Salford. Unbelievable events taking hold here."

It's pretty bad for ITV in central Manchester, too. Mark Tattersall, another correspondent, has said gangs looting Diesel sought to rob him and his cameraman of their cameras. "It's getting too dangerous now," he says. "We have to pull back. A sad state of affairs when a camera man is being verbally and physically attacked."

21:10 - There's a real sense that the level of violence here is quietening down. Looking back at the last four nights - and assuming that we don't get much more drastic stuff this evening in the capital - it's almost as if the rioting has spread out geographically from Tottenham on Saturday night, like a shockwave. The question now is: will it peter out? Or will, as some fear, the violence become more sporadic, flaring up here and there, through the summer? Personally, I doubt it. But then we're living in very, very uncertain times.

21:17 - Over to London now, and it appears as if Millwall fans - who have a reputation for causing trouble, I think it's fair to say - attempted to take over Eltham, to protect it from looters! "Terrific our community in safe hands, our old folk will be looked after," one fan wrote on a fans' site. Around 200 fans gathered in a pub to see off any troublemakers - but then got moved on themselves by police. Another fan wrote: Police are stupid ain't they, opportunity to keep people who are protecting one town in one place and they shut a pub, maybe they'll be equally stupid and shut the other so they will have 200 looking for rioters instead of staying put, doing what every town and city should be doing up and down the country and sitting in their local waiting." Wise words indeed.

21:24 - Latest reports from Manchester suggest the doors to the Arndale Centre have been broken down. Meanwhile much of the city centre is under lockdown, although the success of this approach is sporadic at best. There's no doubt it is Manchester which is the most violent city in Britain this evening. Birmingham comes in second, with London third.

21:30 - Time for another update from West Midlands police, who say they've made 43 arrests so far today. Two groups in the city centre are causing them particular concern: one of these has now moved out of the centre, while a second is fragmenting.

"The disorder has been on a smaller scale today than was seen on Monday evening in Birmingham, and police have been working throughout the afternoon and evening to calm the situation and target the offenders in all three areas," the force said.

Still, a number of shops have been attacked. And a car was set alight on Moor Street.

21:37 - First reports of violence in Bristol now emerging. Ashfield, a young offenders institution, was hit by a number of blazes which took nearly an hour to extinguish, the Guardian reported.

21:44 - In London, there are continued reports of a buildup of people in Enfield, in the north of the capital. "Cars of people are driving around randomly attacking passers-by," one local news blog warned. "Stay away from the area if you can."

21:52 - New story on tonight's events thus far - riot focus shifts north to Manchester.

21:54 - Twitter is full of praise for a large group of Sikhs who have gathered on the streets of Southall to protect their local community. Wouldn't want to take on that lot...

22:01 - Sky correspondent Mike McCarthy reports from Manchester that youths are continuing to loot shops in a sporadic fashion. He says that whilst police are in numbers with horses and dogs the atmosphere remains extremely tense. As soon as police arrive at one location small groups of looters attack elsewhere, he explains.

22:06 - Leicester police force report on Twitter that officers in full protective clothing are engaged with a large group of youths in the city centre.

22:13 - Bit more on the situation in Southall, near Ealing, where there was significant violent yesterday. Around 100 members of the local Sikh community gathered on the streets to protect their Gurdwara Temple, the Ealing Gazette reported. Reporter James Gates said about an hour ago: "I can't see anything going on, virtually every shop is shut and it's very, very quiet - no trouble so far. There are so many Sikhs outside the temple; I'd say it's the safest place in London tonight."

22:16 - Guardian journalist Paul Lewis says he is keen to "dampen down" speculation circulating about his earlier reports of potentially racially aggravated skirmishes in Enfield earlier. He has said:

"My colleague Mustafa Khalili and I reported what we saw and it was an incident that left us both shaken. We described it as a minor skirmish. That's what it was. It seemed pertinent to mention what some of the men were saying, as it seemed different to anything we've seen in the last four days, but some seem to be taking that out of context. There were no racist chants."

22:20 - Great interview on Sky News with a masked, bad-mouthed teenager. "You don't know what the police are like," he says. "[We've] come out for money. Because the police nick you for stupid things. They can't do nothing to us today. It's like a freedom act - do whatever you want." This, it appears, involves getting drunk.

22:25 - The Metropolitan police are getting a bit miffed that worried Londoners are ringing their wrong telephone numbers. Anyone who has specific information about rioters are directed to ring 020 8345 4142, the incident room number for the Operation Withern major investigation team. "The team are receiving a significant number of calls that are not directly related to their investigation," they complain. "These calls are impeding the ability of those with relevant information to get through to officers." You have been warned.

22:29 - The big breaking news in the last few minutes has been from Nottinghamshire police, where Canning Circus fire station has been fire-bombed by a group of up to 40 men.

22:34 - Back in London, it appears the crowd gathering in Enfield has been dominated by those determined to keep rioters at bay, rather than troublemakers themselves. That's the third area, after the Millwall fans in Eltham and the Sikhs in Southall, where the police have been helped out by citizens.

"In Canning Town, police have taken off riot gear... most back in vans," a Sky News reporter tweets. "Some parents have been dragging their kids back home." 

22:37 - Some more details on that firebombing in Canning Circus. The Notts police website won't load, but they've tweeted confirmation. A number of men have been arrested and there are no reported injuries. At least eight people have been arrested and the scene is "being preserved for forensic evidence". Sounds like it's all under control now.

22:45 - In Liverpool, the BBC is reporting a man allegedly used a dumper truck to attack a Post Office. Really? Apparently the building's shutters managed to rebuff the dumper truck's advances.

22:49 - Some more reports coming in from Manchester, where it's reported Liam Gallagher's fashion boutique is the latest shop to be attacked. A shopkeeper in Manchester is interviewed on BBC news and describes the city as a "warzone". He warns people to stop heading into the city centre as spectators.

22:51 - Ok, I'm being relieved by none other than politics.co.uk's own Ian Dunt now. In the last five hours I've been working on this the story of the night has become clearer and clearer: the massive influx of police officers into the capital has calmed London, but Manchester and the Midlands have seen much more disorder. This is not over yet... Alex Stevenson, signing out.

23:05 - Hello again. For those of you in Manchester, there's a Salford clean up starting at 09:00 BST tomorrow, by the same people who organised the inspirational action in London today.

23:08 - The temporary cross-party consensus of this afternoon appears to have gone down the plughole on Newsnight, with Michael Gove shouting at Harriet Harman that she's "talking out of both sides of her face at once". Gove is getting extraordinarily irate, telling the deputy leader of the Labour party that she's demeaned herself. "I'll tell you what's out of touch, making this sort of relativist judgement." Harman: "I don't know what relativising is." Not quite the greatest battle of wits you've ever seen, but beggars can't be choosers.

23:15 - Meanwhile, this video gives an excellent summary of the riots in Peckham yesterday. Well worth a watch.
 



23:21 - It looks like we might be heading towards our first successful e-petition. They need 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate and this one, which currently has 36,701, is picking them up at quite a pace. "Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed," it reads. "No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them." Last week we were all talking about whether it would be Guido Fawkes' pro-death penalty petition or a competing anti-death penalty petition. That seems terribly long ago.

 

23:29 - West Midlands police have confirmed that 80 people were arrested this evening in Birmingham, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. In Nottingham, we understand the firebombed police station has been extinguished. A police chief just told ITV there had been "hundreds of incidents in Nottingham tonight ".

23:45 - Really tough press conference with Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable at Garry Shewan. How's this for robust: "We have extensive CCTV of all the activity that has gone on tonight. We have made it absolutely clear that as early as tomorrow morning we will be coming to make arrests."

23:49 - Tomorrow we will start picking up the pieces again and trying to establish what we can learn. One thing that's almost guaranteed is that government plans to cut police numbers have almost no chance of succeeding. The extent of the destruction in Manchester is at least partly a result of the numbers of police in London, which gives some idea of how stretched resources were. Ken Clarke must also be having a good old think about how the public will receive his plans to reduce prison numbers, although if we have another week of this we'll have to free up space somewhere.

23:53 - And with that, I'll put this blog to bed. We'll have plenty of analysis tomorrow morning along with an assessment of the political consequences of the events of the events this week. It's been a quieter night than we expected, thankfully, but that will be scant reassurance to those who have had their businesses destroyed in Manchester and elsewhere. Goodnight and we'll see you tomorrow.
 

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