British intelligence agency MI5 today joined the hunt for rioters to help decode encrypted messages on BlackBerry used by looters, as the UK said it will unveil new upragded police mob control measures.
The MI5 and the electronic interception centre GCHQ have been asked by the government to track down rioters and their messages that led to coordinated attacks in various parts of London and elsewhere, Guardian reported.
The move represents a change as officially MI5 is tasked with ensuring the national security of the United Kingdom from terrorist threats, weapons of mass destruction, and espionage.
Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg today said an independent communities and victims panel will be set up to hear from those affected by the riots. It would not be a full public inquiry, but would report back to all three main party leaders. The rioters who were not jailed would have to take part in community payback schemes in the areas and "look their victims in the eye".
Home secretary Theresa May told police officers that they will have political backing to use tough tactics to deal with rioting, as new guidelines are issued to forces. She said officers were criticised for being "too tough" but would always have her backing if they acted "within reason and the law". One of the measures being considered is imposing "general curfew" in specific areas, May said.