Tuesday, 16 August 2011

16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a man attacked during the London riots.

Richard Bowes, 68, died on Thursday after being assaulted during the disturbances in Ealing, west London, last Monday.

The CPS announced last night it had authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge a 16-year-old boy with murder.

The teenager, who will appear at Croydon Youth Court today, is also charged with violent disorder and four separate burglaries of commercial premises.

The development came as ministers prepared to flesh out their response to the riots today, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying that those responsible would be forced to help clean up the areas they have damaged and "look their victims in the eye".

Rioters who are not sent to jail for their parts in last week's violence and looting will be set to work in the streets affected.

The initiative is designed to force the perpetrators to face the consequences of their actions and prevent first-time offenders getting sucked into a cycle of crime.

The Ministry of Justice will be instructing probation officers to recommend Community Payback sentences - to be served in riot-hit areas - in non-custodial cases.

There will also be a drive to bring offenders face-to-face with victims who have had their lives turned upside down by the disturbances.

Announcing the move in a speech today, Mr Clegg will say he wants "punishment that sticks" so the rioters "change their ways".

"Victims of crime are only truly protected if punishment leads to criminals not committing crime again. Criminals must be punished and then made to change their ways," he will say.

"That's why those people who behaved so despicably last week should have to look their victims in the eye."

Home Secretary Theresa May will say that police forces need clearer guidance on how to tackle riots.

She is writing to Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, saying that forces should be given clearer guidance on issues including tactics, pre-emptive action and arrest policy.

Mrs May is expected to clash with senior officers, however, as she rejects calls to reconsider the Government's 20% cuts to police budgets in the wake of the riots.

Instead, she will say the disturbances of the past 10 days show that the reforms are more urgent than ever.

Today's initiatives from Mr Clegg and Mrs May come after Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday declared "all-out war" on gangs and promised to stamp out criminal groups.

Mr Cameron said mending a "broken society" was at the top of his priority list, and coalition ministers would be reviewing all relevant policies, ranging from education to health and safety rules.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Government of offering "knee-jerk" solutions and warned ministers against undermining senior police officers.

Scotland Yard said last night the number of people charged in relation to rioting and looting in London had reached 940.

The total number of arrests in the capital swelled over the weekend, reaching 1,635.

The Ministry of Justice said there had been 1,179 court appearances nationwide - the majority relating to burglary, theft and handling, and violence and violent disorder.

Of those, 65% had been remanded into custody.


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