Met notches up 1,000th riot charge

By Phil Scullion

Over 1,000 people have been charged by the Metropolitan police over last week's riots.

Tim Godwin, acting Met commissioner, hailed the "significant milestone" but warned that the investigation is "far from over".

The Met have arrested 1,733 people in connection with the riots so far. It has set a target of 3,000 convictions. So far 1,005 people have been charged.

Boris Johnson, London mayor, lauded the police's "commitment and hard work" in tracking down those responsible for the widespread looting which shocked the nation last week.

He said: "To have already charged 1,000 people is a testament not only to their dedication, but also to the outstanding support they have had from law abiding Londoners who will not tolerate this behaviour in their communities.

"We have shone a torch on London's criminal fraternity, and this milestone sends out the clear message that offenders will be made to pay for their appalling actions."

Around 500 officers are currently part of Operation Withern's investigation team and many of these are tasked with going through over 20,000 hours of CCTV footage.

The Met police are embracing the internet as an additional means of identifying looters and their suspect images page on Flickr has already had 7.8 million hits.

The West Midlands police have also made use of social media, releasing CCTV footage via their Twitter page and asking the public to identify those involved in the riots in Birmingham city centre last Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Steven Reed, from Force CID, said: "The response has been fantastic and we have only been able to arrest so many people as a direct result of the information we have received from the public.

"The fact that hundreds of thousands of people have taken the time to look at the images on our website shows how much support we have from communities and how keen they are to see offenders caught."

So far West Midlands police have made 509 arrests and charged 135 people.

A 'Shop a Looter' campaign launched by Greater Manchester police includes a van driving around covered in pictures of rioters for the general public to identify.

Ian Hopkins, Assistant Chief Constable Greater Manchester police, said: "Within five minutes of the van being at the precinct here today one of the suspects was recognised by his father who reported him to a nearby police station immediately.

"Our message to those responsible for or involved in the disorder last week is that we are coming for you, so why wait for the inevitable knock on the door?"

So far Greater Manchester police have made 256 arrests and 166 charges in connection with last week's riots.