A friend of mine came up to me earlier and said "Don't you think the police are being a bit heavy-handed?"
As a liberal (socially speaking), I seem to find that it's almost seen as my duty to criticise whatever the police do. People just expect me to. And normally, I'm more than willing to oblige. They definitely abuse their stop and search powers, they enforce a lot of laws which are not just, and they seem to spend more time pulling people over for not wearing seatbelts than they do catching rapists and killers.
Having said that, when it comes to these mindless acts of theft and vandalism, I can't criticise a robust approach. The police have a duty to protect people and their property, and that's exactly what they're doing. If they can prevent a shop being smashed up with a baton or a riot shield, it seems worth it to me. If people are willing to attack others and their property, the police are well within their ethical rights to use force to prevent those attacks.
In a free society, this would be an entirely legitimate function of the police force. The police are employed to serve and protect the public and that appears to be what they're doing, at great risk to themselves. I think that Cameron has made the right call in stepping up operations, and I hope that soon these mindless criminals will be brought to justice.