British prime minister David Cameron has visited Croydon in south London, hit by Monday night’s violence. He met fire crews involved in the clear-up; he has also met police.
Emergency services have been overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction.
Earlier the prime minister said parliament would be recalled for a day on Thursday following the wave of rioting that has affected several English cities.
He condemned the violence as “criminality, pure and simple”, which he said had to be “confronted and defeated.”
“I have this very clear message to those people who are responsible for this wrongdoing and criminality: you will feel the full force of the law, and if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishment,” he told reporters outside Number 10 Downing Street.
“People should be in no doubt that we will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets and to make them safe for the law-abiding.”
All police leave and training has been cancelled.
The prime minister said there would be more arrests, and court procedures would be speeded up to deal with rioters. In London the number of officers on the streets is being more than doubled, from 6,000 on Monday night to 16,000 on Tuesday.
Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin had a warning for those considering taking part in rioting: “We will be out there in greater numbers tonight and we will continue as long as necessary. But more importantly, we have your images. We are asking Londoners to identify the people engaged in criminality last tonight and we will be coming to arrest you.”