Policing with hands tied.

The events of the last week have led to police forces all over the country being stretched to their limit. And despite some of the criticism received, it has to be said that they’ve done an excellent job under the circumstances.

Few would have predicted the scale of the rioting and violence witnessed on the streets of cities up and down the country.

Those involved in criminal acts did so in a way which not only showed a complete disregard for property but, in many cases, a total disregard for life as well.

As the situtation escalated, more power was given to the police in terms of how they were permitted to respond, and more officers were put on the streets.

The questions asked of why they weren’t able to do more at an earlier stage of the disorder, particularly in London, are questions not for the officers on duty, but for those in more senior positions of authority.

Such questions go beyond the events of this week and include questioning what could and should be done with young offenders who continue to engage in criminal acts without consequence.

As one Metropolitan Police officer said on Radio 5: “The people who were out on the streets looting are the people we’ve been arresting time and time again and have been in front of the courts and walked.”

It’s no doubt a frustrating cycle for the police. But until it changes, and until there are consquences which act as a deterrent to youngsters wishing to roam the streets terrorising local communities, the cycle will continue.

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