- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2011

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday promised vigorous and wide-ranging measures to restore order and prevent riots erupting again on Britain’s streets — including taking gang-fighting tips from American cities.

Mr. Cameron told lawmakers there would be no “culture of fear” on Britain’s streets, as police raided houses to round up more suspects from four days of rioting and looting in London and other English cities. He said the government was “acting decisively” to restore order after the riots, which shocked the country and the world.

“We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets,” Mr. Cameron said. “We will not let a violent few beat us.”

Lawmakers were summoned back from their summer vacations for an emergency session of Parliament on the riots as government, and police worked to regain control, both on the streets and in the court of public opinion.

Calm prevailed in London overnight, with a highly visible police presence watching over the capital, but tensions remained high throughout the country.

Mr. Cameron promised tough measures to stop further violence and said “nothing should be off the table,” including water cannons and plastic bullets.

He said riot-hit businesses would receive help to get back on their feet, and he promised to look to the United States for help in fighting the street gangs he blamed for helping spark Britain’s riots.

Mr. Cameron told lawmakers that he would look to cities such as Boston for inspiration, and he mentioned William J. Bratton, a former Los Angeles police chief and New York police commissioner, as a person who could help offer advice.

He said the government, police and intelligence services were looking at whether there should be limits on the use of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to spread disorder. Authorities are considering “whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of people arrested in London rose to 922 since troubles began on Saturday, with 401 suspects charged.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said raids to round up suspects began overnight, and more than 100 warrants would be executed. Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that “hundreds more people” would be in custody by the end of the day.

The violence has revived debate about the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures and has sparked debate from all parts of the political spectrum about its cause. But, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the “sociological debate” about the origins of the violence was for the future.

“Right now, it’s important that people are reassured that their streets are made safe, their homes are made safe and society is allowed to move on,” Mr. Clegg told BBC radio.

The London police said it would keep up the huge operation — involving 16,000 officers — for at least one more night.

Trouble broke out briefly in Eltham in southeast London, where a group of largely white and middle-aged men who claimed to be defending their neighborhood pelted police with rocks and bottles. Police said the incident had been “dealt with” and a group was dispersed.

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