I thought I'd expand on discussion link #2 from my previous post. The Guardian article said "over 333 deaths in police custody since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them" while this article from the Economist said over 400 "deaths following police contact" between 1999 and 2009. In February 2008 over 100 lawyers resigned from the advisory body for the Independent Police Complaints Commission citing favouritism towards police, indifference, extreme delays and other problems.
The arrest count is now up to 1600:
One student was given a six-month sentence for stealing a bottle of water, and BBC legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said tough sentences were "inevitable" given the public outrage.
The "looters are scum" crowd is numerous and very vocal. The most popular government e-petition calls for rioters to lose all access to social welfare and is now over 190,000 signatures - 100,000 were required for Backbench Business Committee to consider its suitability for debate when Parliament returns in September.
But voices of reason are still being heard: "You can't arrest your way out of the problem" says US cop Bill Bratton, credited for cutting crime in LA after the 1992 riots, who will be advising British PM David Cameron next month.
48 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr summed it up:
When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty & shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up & express their anger & frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.
and 5 years later:
The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.