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Chiefs cancel all police leave

Force chiefs across the country have been ordered to cancel "all police leave" to deal with England's rioting crisis, the Home Secretary said today.

Theresa May also said "maximising the police presence on the street must be a priority" in affected areas during a meeting and conference call with chief constables.

She told officers that the focus must be on having a "robust" approach and a maximum arrest policy.

Speaking afterwards, she said: "This morning I convened and chaired a conference call with chief officers from forces across the whole country in which I ordered that all special constables should be mobilised, all police leave should be cancelled and the robust tactics used on Tuesday by the Metropolitan Police adopted by all forces dealing with public disorder."

The Home Secretary was said to have thanked police chiefs for their hard work and expressed gratitude for the bravery of their officers in protecting the country.

English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish constabulary chiefs were included in the conference call.

Ms May urged officers to continue to bring those who riot to justice when she held a discussion with them about police tactics, planning and lessons learnt.

The announcement that all leave had been cancelled followed the decision taken to swell London's streets with 16,000 officers last night.

Rank and file officers said they would do all they could to help as they responded to the Home Secretary's order to abandon leave.

Simon Reed, of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "The dedication and professionalism of police officers shown during this national emergency shows our flexibility and loyalty to protecting the public.

"Officers will continue to do all they can to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Our priority, as always, is to protect the innocent members of the communities we serve."