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Police officers expect more civil disorder to break out like last year’s London riots.

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Officers fear budget cuts will hit their ability to deal with any repeat of the disturbances, which happened last August.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said austerity would be to blame if police cannot tackle rioting.

“This comprehensive analysis demonstrates what we have been telling the government for two years now; that a 20 per cent budget cut to policing will have a negative impact on public safety and that police numbers really do matter.

“Officers interviewed rightly identify and voice concern that, should the same circumstances occur again, the police service would struggle to cope and contain the situation with the loss of police officers numbers we are experiencing as a direct result of the cuts - over 5,000 last year alone.”

Senior Metropolitan Police figures also admitted officers were not deployed swiftly enough to quell violence during four days of rioting in the capital city.

The Met failed also to activate a national alarm system to call for more resources until the third day of riots, found the study by the London School of Economics and the Guardian.

Officers from other forces who did arrive in London were hampered by poor communication with central command.

The Reading the Riots research was conducted by the London School of Economics and The Guardian.

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