Much has been said about the causes of the riots in English cities over recent days but what is clearly evident is that the police got their tactics wrong and archaic laws in Britain need to be changed so that the army could have been deployed if necessary. The fact that only 2'000 police officers were on duty across London, a city with eight million residents, clearly shows that the police were not ready for any major incident.
There is plenty of talk about the root causes of the riots but let's face it, this was an outbreak of lawlessness which can´t just be excused by social problems. The courts need to impose harsh sentences to show that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in a modern democratic country. Meanwhile, the police and to some extent the government need to move with the times. The U.S., in times of trouble, is always quick to draft in the National Guard, army reservists. Britain should consider similar action. Perhaps, the training of territorial army units could be expanded to include crowd control and helping the civilian administration. What is evident is the scenes in London and other major English cities can´t be repeated. Britain needs to be ready. While it is nice to think that the police alone can deal with trouble in mainland Britain this is no longer the case. It is a sad reflection of our times but I believe that there is now a clear need for the army to play a role in policing Britain from terrorism to riots.