BRISTOL RIOTS – Around 500 people are estimated to have been involved in criminality during last night’s riots, according to Avon and Somerset’s Police Chief Constable.
Seven arrests have so far been made and 20 officers were injured after protests over the Police and Crime Bill descended into violent confrontations.
Two officers were taken to hospital with serious injuries including one that suffered a collapsed lung after being stamped on. Avon and Somerset Police have said it will now be carrying out a significant investigation to identify all those responsible.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh told BristolLive that attempts will be made to prosecute those involved in any offences yesterday, even down to the spraying of graffiti.
Anyone involved in criminality should anticipate a knock on the door, he said.
It was a significant gathering of up to 3,000 people and I believe several have come forward to the media to say how ashamed they were that those responsible for this hid among them.
He estimated 400 to 500 people were involved in criminality, which he described as a significant group.
Mr. Marsh does not believe 400 to 500 people will be prosecuted but a substantial number will be.
He said the number of those facing prosecutions could potentially be three digits.
The chief constable added: “It would probably be unhelpful for us to tarnish the whole gathering with that brush.”
During the riot, protesters smashed a window of the police station with a skateboard and managed to get up onto the roof of the first floor of the police station and rained down missiles on the police, who lined up to defend the entrance of the police station.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary called in extra support from neighbouring forces and deployed more officers in riot gear.
Pepper spray and police dogs were used as ugly scenes continued late into the night, with police blocking the M32 to stop people entering the city centre.
The Chief Constable continued: Once the gathering outside Bridewell turned to violence and disorder, with fireworks set off and stones and bottles thrown, the only people who had business being there were the media covering it and the police protecting the station.
“The rest of the people who were there at that ugly scene should take a look in the mirror.”