Suddenly, realisation dawns. The citizenry ARE the solution, and the timescale IS hours and days. Whether we observe sikhs in Southall, bengalis in Bethnal Green, or englishmen in Enfield or Eltham, men are standing up for their pubs and local shops. And doing a far better job than the "professionals".
It isn't clear that this will be effective vs a 4am attack, of course, but it appears to me that the police had a 0% success rate in stopping riots in a timely manner while preventing looting, so it is progress. Not everyone will view it that way.
If someone wants to make political hay out of this affair, one way would be to allow the police to "deputise" groups of people. The police unions may oppose the idea, attacking their privileged position and removing their best counter-argument to budget cuts as it does, but it would be myopic of them. The people of this country will stand and will fight for what Arthur Daley would have called his "manor". The police can adapt to provide an NCO cadre for this tide of old/new behaviour, or ask the tide to stop.
The obvious place for this suggestion to come from is ACPO, but they are so indoctrinated with NuLabour nostrums as to make this impossible. In the light of the failure of the senior police leadership, it would be prescient of the Police Federation to show that it was more than an insular trade union.
It would be rather whimsical if the EDL could pull off the coup of getting sikhs to share a stage when asking for deputisation.
Update: 20:27 2011-08-10
What I meant to say, I guess, is that for "local" areas, these riot-loot incidents are over. Local people will defend their locality, in the same way that air passengers will defend "their" plane post 9-11. In the same way that air hijacking has become a vanishingly rare event, the type of riot-storm seen this week will soon be something of the past, provided the government doesn't attack citizen militia too harshly.