The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has hit out at the rioters for “a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals”.
Meanwhile, the Church of England has published a prayer for the crisis. And the Bishop of Manchester has called for the city’s vandals to be brought to justice.
Much of the rioting, which started in London on Saturday night, has involved youths.
Responding to a question on the crisis earlier today, Mr Cameron said: “The sight of those young people running down streets, smashing windows, taking property, looting, laughing as they go, the problem of that is a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals.
“That is what we need to change.”
The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, has condemned the “sheer vandalism” of rioters in the city.
He said: “There is absolutely no excuse for that. Justice now needs to be done, and seen to be done.”
And the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has also condemned the lawlessness.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned.
“They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside.”
The Church of England has released a prayer to encourage Christians to pray for the communities affected by rioting.
The Prayer for Peace in Our Communities says:
Gracious God,We pray for peace in our communities this day.We commit to you all who work for peace and an end to tensions,And those who work to uphold law and justice.We pray for an end to fear,For comfort and support to those who suffer.For calm in our streets and cities,That people may go about their lives in safety and peace.In your mercy, hear our prayers,now and always. Amen
Mr Cameron’s concerns echo those of Lord Jones, the former director general of the CBI, who has also lamented that Britain is a country “where parents feel no responsibility for their children’s behaviour”.
Lord Jones added: “We have developed into a ‘Gimme’ society stuffed full of rights without an understanding of responsibility.”
Dr Tony Sewell, the director of an out-of-school programme for London youths, said: “Our ancestors, whether African, Caribbean or Anglo-Saxon, knew that adolescent boys had to be provided with discipline and boundaries, otherwise the village could be burnt down.”
Max Hastings, a commentator in the Daily Mail, cautioned: “The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.
“The social engineering industry unites to claim that the conventional template of family life is no longer valid.”
Mr Hastings continued: “This has ultimately been sanctioned by Parliament, which refuses to accept, for instance, that children are more likely to prosper with two parents than with one”.
He added: “If a child lacks sufficient respect to address authority figures politely, and faces no penalty for failing to do so, then other forms of abuse — of property and person — come naturally.”
Liz Pilgrim, a nursery shop owner whose shop was ransacked, said: “They were mainly young teenagers. What were their parents doing letting them out at this time?
“It was just mindless destruction. They are feral rats.”
And an editorial in the Daily Mail said: “It has been profoundly distressing, not to say terrifying.
“The rioting, arson, looting, violence and wanton anarchy which have spread like a contagion across London into other major English cities have rightly sickened the nation.
“The spectre of nihilistic and feral teenagers, seemingly devoid of any semblance of morality, ransacking shops and torching homes and businesses for their own vile personal gratification has shattered the image of Britain as an ordered and civilised society.”