Posted by Shami Chakrabarti on 09 August 2011

The past few days have been very sad for a number of cities across the country - scenes of violence, looting and arson in London, Birmingham and Bristol have been constantly on our TV screens.

Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected - people have been injured, property damaged and our communities ransacked.

In very testing circumstances, the response of both the police and Government has been measured and proportionate so far - we welcome this and hope it will continue.

It is clear that this completely destructive lawlessness has no rational connection with the shooting in Tottenham.

Nonetheless it is vital that the IPCC undertakes a speedy and thorough investigation into the death. This wanton violent disorder serves only to distract from that vital inquiry.