U.K. Riots: 3 Dead as London Police Go on Offensive

As rioting gripping England enters fifth day, police have gone on offensive.

August 10, 2011, 4:27 AM

Aug. 10, 2011— -- The rioting and looting gripping England has turned deadly as it enters a fifth day with three men killed by a hit-and-run driver in Birmingham.

Reports from neighbors indicate that the men were attempting to protect their area from rioters when they were struck by the car.

"Three men -- aged 31, 30 and 20 -- were on foot in Dudley Road in the Winson Green area of the city when they were in collision with a car. All later died from their injuries in hospital," read a statement of the West Midlands website. "Detectives … will today question a 32-year-old man on suspicion of murder."

In London, Scotland Yard has gone on the offensive in the streets, adding an additional 10,000 officers who have created an eerie calm as night fell on the capital that has apparently stifled the rioting.

Officers continued to arrest those involved in disorder both on the street and as a result of detective work, according to a statement from Scotland Yard, which rejected claims that officers were initially instructed not to make arrests.

"It is simply wrong to suggest officers were initially told not toactively arrest those involved in disorder," the statement read. "As always the decision to make an arrest is down to the individual officer on the ground who must weigh up whether it is appropriate bearing in mind risks of further inflaming the crowd, wider operational requirements and our ability to gather evidence to arrest later."

Police had vowed to hit the streets in greater numbers as night fell and there were no new reported hotspots in the city as of late Tuesday evening . A large presence will remain in the city through at least the next 24 hours, according to The Associated Press.

"A fightback is underway ... We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets," Prime Minister David Cameron said from 10 Downing Street today.

The current total for arrests made in London is at 770 people -- including one 11-year-old boy. Between Saturday night and Tuesday morning 525 arrests were made -- 310 of which were overnight on Monday. Across the country a total of 1,100 arrests have been made.

A total of 111 officers and 14 members of the public have been injured since the riots began, according to the Associated Press.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who cut his summer vacation short to return and help quell the violence, said there were now 16,000 officers on the streets of the capital, up from 6,000 on Monday. The Metropolitan Police resources are reportedly spread thinly and widely across the city, giving police a presence in many places and the ability to mobilize quickly to crush violence as it erupts.

Today on the BBC radio program "Today" Johnson took the opportunity to cricize the slashing of police budgets.

"If you ask me whether I think there is a case for cutting police budgets… in the light of these events, then my answer to that would be a 'no'," he said. "I think that this is not a time to think about making substantial cuts in police numbers and I'm looking at the country as a whole."

The U.S. Embassy has issued a statement warning Americans about London violence and has reminded them of common sense practices including avoiding civil unrest and not engaging with those causing disturbance.

The violence that began in London on Saturday has spread across England, with Manchester and Nottingham reportedly being hit harshly by rioters, with roving gangs of young people set buildings and cars on fire and looted stores and terrorizing the public. A gang of rioters firebombed a police station in Nottingham on Tuesday.

"Canning Circus Police Station fire bombed by a group of 30-40 males," Nottingham, England, police said via Twitter. "No reports of injuries at this stage. A number of men arrested. Fire service at scene."

In another tweet, officials added, "Fire at Canning Circus Police Station is extinguished, scene being preserved for forensic evidence. At least 8 arrested."

A total of 90 people have reportedly been arrested in Nottingham so far.

In Manchester hundreds of youths tore through the city, terrorizing police and vandalizing stores. A women's clothing store on the city's main shopping street was set ablaze, along with an unused library in nearby Salford, according to the Associated Press.

"Greater Manchester police officers have been faced with extraordinary levels of violence from groups of people intent on shameful criminality," Garry Shewan, Assistant Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police.

"We want to make it absolutely clear -- they have nothing to protest against," he told the Associated Press. "There is nothing in a sense of injustice and there has been no spark that has led to this," he added.

Sales of aluminum baseball bat sales on amazon.co.uk have shot up 50,000 percent since the riots began.

The wave of rioting now entering its fourth day was sparked by the shooting death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in the Tottenham section of North London last Thursday. Police have said the man shot at them first. Angry protesters demonstrated against the fatal shooting in the multi-ethnic neighborhood Saturday, and the march soon degenerated into chaos.

Many however are pointing to radical cuts to social programs initiated by the year-old coalition government, led by Cameron, to explain the violence. Many social programs have been slashed across Britain since the new government formed mid-2010, including youth sports and summer programs.

"The economic stagnation and cuts imposed by the Tory Government inevitably create social division," former London Mayor Ken Livingstone said on Monday. "This creates the threat of people losing control, acting in completely unacceptable ways that threaten everyone, and culminating in events of the type we saw in Tottenham."

In July, U.K. unemployment stood at 7.7 percent, or 2.45 million. 917,000 of the unemployed are aged 16 -24. This number fell slightly in the last quarter but the total number of unemployed young people is at a two decade high.

Speaking from 10 Downing Street Tuesday morning, Cameron said that he will be meeting with the Metropolitan Police commissioner and the home secretary to discuss the crisis.

"We will do everything to restore order to Britain's streets. ... This is criminality pure and simple and has to be confronted and defeated," Cameron said, adding that it is "quite clear that we need much more police on our streets and more robust police action."

Cameron had a message for those rioting and breaking the law across the country.

"You will feel the full force of the law, and if you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the consequences. ... You are not only wrecking lives of others, not only your community, you are potentially wrecking your own lives, too," he said.

ABC News' Lama Hasan, Miguel Marquez Simon Mcgregor-Wood and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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