The police may get new powers to order people to remove face coverings and impose curfews following the rioting this summer, says the government.

The Home Office will look into whether police can demand the removal of balaclavas, hoods or other masks without prior authorisation if they have reason to do so.

Crime and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “We must ensure officers on the ground have all the necessary legal measures available to them to protect our streets and keep the public safe.

“But we must also make sure any new powers do not trample upon traditional British freedoms – that is why we are seeking public views on the powers the police really need to keep our communities safe.”

Home secretary, Theresa May, first suggested that police powers should be increased in March, after the anti cuts march in London, when 56 police officers were hurt.

Rioting in August saw 186 police injured across the UK.

The proposed new powers come as new guidelines are being published by the Sentencing Council to give longer jail terms to burglars who broke into homes and businesses during any further unrest.

Next year, the guideline sentence for aggravated burglary with a weapon will rise from four to nine years in jail, if it is linked to a riot. Maximum jail terms for domestic burglaries would increase from 26 weeks to two years.

The plans also coincide with an international forum hosted by the Home Office to address the problem of gangs, which David Cameron says were the main force behind the riots.