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Cameron pledges 'all-out war' on street gangs following riots

[ 2011-08-16 10:16]     字号 [] [] []  
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British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday a sweeping review of government policy to reverse a "slow-motion moral collapse" that he blames for last week's riots, which left five people dead.

He also pledged an "all-out war" on street gangs as Britain struggles to find answers to its worst civil disorder in decades, which tarnished the country's image abroad just a year before London hosts the 2012 Olympic Games.

"This has been a wake-up call for our country. Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face," Cameron said in a speech at a youth club in his affluent rural constituency in Witney, central England.

"Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?" he asked, against a backdrop of colorful graffiti at the club.

Children as young as 11 joined in the four-day frenzy of looting, arson and violence, which spread from London to other major British cities including Manchester and Birmingham, leaving dozens of homes and businesses in flames.

Experts said inadequate parenting and social inequality is behind the astonishingly violent riots.

One explanation “is the lack of authority and discipline in families, whose children are out of control," said Robert Hazell, director of the Constitution Unit of University College London.

"Another may be a very unequal society, and strongly capitalist economy, in which children are led by advertising to believe that they only gain worth and respect through the possession of material goods, rather than from what kind of people they are," Hazell said.

The Conservative premier has flooded the streets with police to prevent further unrest while more than 2,300 people have been arrested, but Cameron said that the "security fightback must be matched by a social fightback."

He said the coalition government - which came to power in May 2010 promising austerity measures to cut a record deficit - would in the coming weeks review "every aspect of our work to mend our broken society."

A day after he controversially hired US "supercop" Bill Bratton to advise the government on tackling street gangs, Cameron said there should be a "concerted, all-out war on gangs and gang culture."

"Stamping out these gangs is a new national priority," Cameron said, describing them as a "major criminal disease that has infected streets and estates across our country."

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Cameron pledges 'all-out war' on street gangs following riots

About the broadcaster:

Cameron pledges 'all-out war' on street gangs following riots

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.