Riots praise from police as MP calls for halt to cop cuts

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POLICE have thanked residents for their ‘overwhelming support’ after rioting, which flared across the country, spread to the Dispatch district early last week.

Local disturbances led to the streets being flooded with police officers as pockets of trouble flared with gangs of youths pelting Bulwell police station on Gilead Street with rocks while a car was overturned in Hucknall.

More than 100 arrests were made across Nottingham during the rioting, including an 18-year-old student, who was allegedly involved in the police-station attack. He has since been released on bail.

A 17-year-old boy, who was also arrested for the same offence, was detained for a breach of an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO).

Police were kept busy throughout Tuesday last week with one call informing officers that youths were throwing lumps of concrete at The Blenheim pub, on Snape Wood Road.

But the police revealed this week that after further investigation, witnesses could not corroborate this information and the case was closed. The landlord e-mailed the Dispatch to confirm there was no attack and no damage to the pub.

Shops closed early in Bulwell on Tuesday last week as unfounded rumours on potential attacks on stores spread across social-networking sites.

But police have thanked folk in the Dispatch district after being flooded with thousands of messages of support on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

The number of people following the force on Twitter had grown enormously since the beginning of last week.

Around 2,000 followers increased to more than 16,000, with thousands more following the specially set up hashtag #nottspolicelatest.

Since the unrest across Nottinghamshire, several MPs have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to review plans to cut police budgets by 20%.

Among those is Bulwell Labour MP Graham Allen, who said: “Now the dust is settling, I am calling on the coalition government to pause on the cuts in the police service just as it paused on the faster parts of its plans on the NHS.

“It is madness to cut spending on the police by a fifth in the wake of the disturbances.”

Commenting on the support for the police, Matt Tapp, head of corporate communications for the force, said: “Due to the professionalism of the policing operation and the quality of the communication with members of the public, we find ourselves with a tremendous groundswell of support and it is truly humbling.

“We have demonstrated how social media can capture fast-time intelligence to prevent crime and garner huge public support from thousands of residents.

“This will revolutionise how we use communications to prevent and detect crime and gain and retain public confidence.”

Anyone with information about the riots should ring the police on 0300 3009999 or call the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.