Top Tory MP blames Labour for undermining police capability

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RIOT police should have been more aggressive and not shown restraint with looters, a senior Tory MP has claimed.

Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said the sight of heavily equipped police officers “standing by” during riots was “astonishing”.

Speaking in today’s Yorkshire Post, Mr Davis accused the previous Labour administration of turning senior police officers into “health and safety conscious, politically correct target-chasers”.

He also called for new leadership of the Met, perhaps from abroad.

“The single thing that has most astonished the British public was the sight of rows of heavily equipped police officers standing by while rioters and looters engaged in brazen acts of vandalism, arson and theft,” he said.

“Some senior officers have denied this but the TV pictures speak for themselves.

“Other officers have said that the criticisms and court cases the Met faced after the G20 and other political protests have inhibited them from taking firm action. This is astonishing. The idea that you use the same tactic against blatant and provocative criminal activity as you do against peaceful protesters exercising their democratic rights beggars belief.”

Mr Davis also said there are “very good senior officers” but added “we should not be afraid to look outside the force, or outside the country, to find the best candidates for leading tomorrow’s police”.

He said: “Only with real and drastic change at the top can the police’s – and particularly the Met’s – reputation be restored.”