UK police need clearer riot tactic rules


LONDON—An official British police watchdog says officers should consider using more robust tactics, including shooting arsonists as a last resort, if faced with future riots.

Tuesday’s report, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, follows deadly riots that erupted in London on Aug. 6 and spread to other English cities.

The group calls for clearer rules of engagement so police know what range of tactics are allowed. It says water cannons and plastic bullets should be an option. It also says police could shoot arsonists as a last resort if they attack commercial buildings linked to homes.

Some lawmakers and police groups have said such tactics could inflame violence.

A lawmakers’ committee concluded Monday that riots spread in part because too few police were on the streets.

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