"Last night was the worst the [Metropolitan Police Service] has seen in current memory for unacceptable levels of widespread looting, fires and disorder," a Metropolitan Police spokesperson told the BBC.
There is growing pressure to use water cannons as have been used in riot control in Northern Ireland, and to possibly introduce a curfew. Water cannons have never been used in England. If a decision was taken to use them, they'd have to be shipped in from Northern Ireland, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Police have been accused of surrendering control to the rioting mobs, though they've used armored vehicles to successfully push back crowds of looters in the relatively affluent neighborhoods of Ealing and Clapham, and said they may use the tactic elsewhere. Riot police from across southern England were drafted to help police the rampaging crowds.
Observers have said that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have not been a key factor in organizing rioters, but that many of the teenagers rioting and looting across London are communicating through BlackBerry Messenger.
In Birmingham, approximately 100 arrests were made after rioters rampaged across the center of the city and surrounding areas overnight into Tuesday.
Police in Liverpool confirmed violence broke out in the city last night, with one witness describing looting and arson, with riot police working to contain a crowd of about 300 people, many of whom were youths who had their heads and faces covered, according to the witness.
Bristol and Manchester also saw incidents overnight.
ABC News' Kevin Dolak and Michael S. James contributed to this report.