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Highlights from Theresa May's speech to the House of Commons on the public disorder in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other English cities.
There are real social problems in Britain: "Almost 2 million children are brought up in households in which no one works. One in three children leaves primary school unable to read, write and add up properly. We have the highest level of drug abuse in Europe. Almost 100 knife crimes are committed every day and nearly 1 million violent crimes every year. Half of all prisoners reoffend within a year of their release from prison. Those are serious social problems, and we cannot go on ignoring them. No one is pretending that there are easy answers to such deep-rooted problems, but they are the reasons why the reform of welfare, schools and the criminal justice system cannot wait."
Tackling gang culture must become a priority: "Six per cent. of young people are thought to belong to a gang of one kind or another. Gangs are inherently criminal. On average, entrenched gang members have 11 criminal convictions, and the average age for the first conviction of a gang member is just 15. They are also inherently violent. Gangs across the country are involved with the use and supply of drugs, firearms and knives. From talking to chief constables who have dealt with the violence of the past few days, it is clear that many of the perpetrators, but by no means all of them, are known gang members. So we have to do more to tackle gang culture."
Police capacity can be maintained despite tighter budgets: "At the end of the spending review period, the police will have the numbers to enable them to deploy in the way they have done during the last few days. It is possible to make cuts in police budgets by taking money out of matters such as better procurement to ensure that we can achieve the cuts that we need to make while still leaving police able to do the job that we want them to do and that they want to do. In January 2011, the chief constable of Greater Manchester police, Peter Fahy, told the Home Affairs Committee: “we have large numbers of officers still in roles that do not require the skills, the powers and expertise of a police officer. It is through that route over the next four years where we will achieve quite a bit of savings.”"
The different police tactics that restored public order: "On Tuesday, the Prime Minister and I held a meeting with the acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner, in which he set out his intention at least to double the deployment of officers. During the day, a number of offenders were identified, arrested and taken out of circulation. Officers took a tougher approach and intervened earlier to disperse groups before trouble began. Leave was cancelled, special constables were mobilised and mutual aid was stepped up, so up to 16,000 officers were deployed in total. As I said, officers took a more robust approach to tackling disorder and making arrests. There are tricky days and nights ahead, but thanks to the efforts of those thousands of officers order has in large part been restored."
Social media and the riots: "This is not the first time that criminals with plans to disrupt life in our towns and cities have used technology to plot their crimes. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and messaging services such as BlackBerry Messenger have been used to co-ordinate criminality and stay one step ahead of the police. I will therefore convene a meeting with ACPO, the police and representatives from the social media industry to work out how we can improve the technological and related legal capabilities of the police."