11 August 2011
By Matthew D'Arcy
The British Army could yet be called on to help the police, Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed.
As he addressed MPs on government actions to restore law and order after riots across England, Cameron said it was his responsibility "to make sure that every contingency is looked at".
This is to include a consideration as to "whether there are tasks that the army could undertake that would free up more police for the front line".
The use of the military was all but ruled out by the Metropolitan Police yesterday, when a spokesman told Defencemanagement.com there "are no plans for the army to get involved".
This view is apparently being echoed throughout Whitehall, as Cameron was told by the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Tim Godwin "he would be the last man left in Scotland Yard with all his management team out on the streets before he asked for the army."
The PM said this was "the right attitude" as well as being a view he shared.
Other politicians called for the army to get involved at an earlier stage. UKIP's Nigel Farage, and Labour's Khalid Mahmood said days ago that the government had to make decisions on bringing in the army.
But this was not a view shared by Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former army officer, who told the BBC: "This is not a military situation, you bring troops in and it starts suggesting a revolution - we are nowhere near that."