Violent scenes in Manchester have been labelled ‘unprecedented’ by police and dubbed one of the worst days in the history of the city by a leading councillor.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, in a hastily convened news conference, claimed order was slowly being restored after shops were looted by roaming gangs across the city centre and in Salford.
“We are regaining control street-by-street and flushing these people out,” he said.
“The level of violence shown towards our police officers and emergency services has been unprecedented. There is no reason, no excuse for this behaviour.
“This is wanton, selfish criminality at its very worst and brings shame on the people involved.
“My officers are still out there facing incredible levels of aggression and violence.
“We will bring these people to justice, we have extensive CCTV coverage and we will come and arrest people who have been involved in these acts.
“We’ve been shamed by these criminals this evening and no stone will be left unturned.”
The police response had been criticised by local MP Graham Stringer but Shewan hit back, insisting resources were drafted in from Northumbria, Cumbria, Staffordshire and North Wales after receiving intelligence that trouble was imminent.
“When the communities wake up and see the devastation that has been caused, they will come together and say no more,” he added.
“Greater Manchester Police is ready and prepared and we will put our resources on the frontline to protect people and property.”
Shewan’s officers were praised by Councillor Patrick Karney, who claimed some rioters were as young as nine years old.
“We are talking about nine, ten, 11 years olds walking up the main shopping street like it was a great night out,” he said.
“We want to see people before the courts as soon as possible and we want them to pay for their actions.
“If you a parent ask yourself, how did my children get those trainers or that bottle of spirits?
“You’ve got a duty to phone Greater Manchester Poilice if you are a true Mancunian.
“This destruction of the city centre this is one of the worst days we’ve ever seen.
“But Manchester must get back to work. We will clean the city centre overnight and be ready for business tomorrow.”