The police stood by and did very little.
Not by choice, I'm sure, but due to orders from much higher powers, higher even than Scotland Yard, probably within the halls of Westminster Palace. Well, as they were in recess when chaos hit the streets, probably from the shores of various holiday destinations. Rumour has it that if the police had been given permission to deal with the disturbances harshly, as they should have done, then these disturbances would have been declared "riots" officially, leaving the government with a hefty bill and insurance companies breathing a sigh of relief.
Still, the police stood by and did very little.
At least the British government can look smugly towards the Middle East and continue to accuse Israel of using disproportionate force again. I mean, any force, when compared to standing idly by must be disproportionate.
Never mind the fact that countless businesses have been destroyed or damaged, lives have been lost, police officers (and dogs) injured, some seriously, and dozens of families have been left homeless, and with nothing but the shirts on their backs.
The government can claim that order was restored with minimal intervention and, should the need arise at any time in the future, self-righteously lecture Israel on how to deal with "disturbances".
Given the choice between disproportionate force and no force at all, one phrase comes to mind:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing (Edmund Burke)