London

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said the riots which have now affected many cities across Britain show there are pockets of society which are "not just broken, but frankly sick".

Speaking at Downing Street in London, Mr Cameron added: "When we see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society." 

"(T)he other side of the story of violence and looting is the swift response of communities across London in clearing up the debris and caring for the victims of what has happened. Our churches are already at the forefront of this."

- Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

The Prime Minister's comments come after the fourth night of rioting in the UK. While London was relatively calm on Tuesday night thanks to the presence of 16,000 police, there was rioting in several other major cities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

In Birmingham, three men were killed when they were allegedly deliberately run down by a car while trying to protect property.

The UK Government have put in place contingency plans for the police to be able to use water cannon at 24 hours notice to help control the rioting although at least one senior policeman has reportedly said it isn't yet required. Police also have the ability to deploy rubber bullets.

Mr Cameron said the rioting has shown the worst of Britain but also some of the "best of Britain" and pointed to the coming together of people to help clean-up in the wake of the riots as an example of the latter.

Meanwhile the Anglican Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has released a statement in which he said the events of the past few days have been appalling but were not "wholly unexpected". 

"Whatever the real motivations of those who have brought violence to our streets, there will be a proper time for sober analysis and an assessment of the role of gang culture in the capital," he said. "For now, the other side of the story of violence and looting is the swift response of communities across London in clearing up the debris and caring for the victims of what has happened. Our churches are already at the forefront of this."

Among the churches involved has been St Mary the Virgin on Lansdowne Road in Tottenham, north London, which has been helping those whose homes and businesses have been affected in a number of ways, including distributing meals and providing hot water and mobile phone charging for those left without electricity so they can remain in touch with loved ones.

The Church of England has published a Prayer for Peace in Our Communities online. To see it and for further information on the response of the Church of England across the country, follow this link.