Hampshire police drafted in to deal with London riots

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SPECIALIST police officers from Hampshire have been called in to help the Met following riots across London.

The public support unit – consisting of 18 police officers, a sergeant and a driver – went up as back-up yesterday following a second night of violence in the capital.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We have provided a public support unit to the Metropolitan Police service at its request.

‘These are officers trained in the management of public order.’

The force says policing across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will not be affected.

Saturday’s chaos in Tottenham, north London, caused £100m of damage.

Violent clashes and arson attacks left dozens of people homeless and sparked copycat riots in several areas on Sunday including Enfield, Brixton, Oxford Circus, Walthamstow, Streatham and Islington. Looters ransacked shops, torched buildings and set vehicles ablaze.

Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter said that the county’s deputy chief constable Andy Marsh had instructed that all officers who were trained in public support unit techniques be put on an hour’s notice to go to London if needed.

He said: ‘What surprises me is that the Met Police has called for as much assistance as possible.

‘For this to happen is really concerning. There are some officers out there who are very seriously injured and an awful lot of the injuries are going unreported

‘The officers just want to get on and do their job. But the concern is the situation is escalating so rapidly that no matter what the police do they are criticised.

‘What I would ask the rioters to remember is as highly trained and highly professional as these police officers are, they are human beings. They are frightened, they are worried, they want to go home safely and they want to do their best.’

Hampshire Constabulary says there is no evidence to suggest violence in London sparked by the shooting of Mark Duggan, 29, by a police officer in Tottenham on Thursday could spread to this area.

The spokeswoman added: ‘We have had no indication there will be disorder in the county but our planning department is alert and prepared should the need arise.’