Police warn Bristol rioters: ‘Expect a knock at your door – it may come sooner than you think’
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 22/03/2021
Protesters who engaged in “wanton disorder” in Bristol on Sunday have been warned by police to “expect a knock at your door in the days or weeks to come”.
More than 100 officers and staff from Avon and Somerset Police are working on identifying those involved after a protest in the city turned violent, with police being attacked and threatened, and property being extensively damaged.
Some 21 officers were injured – two of them seriously – when they were confronted by people outside Bridewell Police Station.
Eight people have been arrested so far – six on suspicion of violent disorder and two on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.
Det Chief Supt Belafonte said the investigation could result in police releasing the largest number of suspect images in the force’s history in an effort to track down those responsible.
She said: “What happened on the streets of Bristol on Sunday was nothing short of disgraceful and it’s provoked widespread condemnation over the past 24 hours.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness that we’ve received from the public, as well as from organisations and agencies across the city.
“It’s greatly appreciated and means a lot to all the officers and staff who work day in, day out to keep the public safe.
“We have an enormous amount of digital evidence to go through including CCTV footage, body-worn video, social media coverage and footage/photos provided by people at the scene.”
A large amount of digital footage has also been received from the public and a form has been set up on the force’s website for people to send video and photos.
Photos of suspects are likely to be released after this material has been collated, she said, adding: “From what we’ve already collated, we’re confident more arrests are imminent”.
“This will be a lengthy investigation but we’re wholly committed to tracking down all those who engaged in the wanton disorder yesterday. To those who took part in this spree of offending, you can expect a knock at your door in the days or weeks to come – it may come sooner than you think.”
The protest had been organised to protest against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would increase police powers to deal with non-violent demonstrations, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.
It would affect England and Wales and would see those convicted facing possible fines or jail time.
However, what started out peacefully on Sunday afternoon turned ugly after hundreds of protesters marched from College Green to the New Bridewell police station.
On Monday, Andy Marsh, of Avon and Somerset Police, told Sky News that a number of those protesting “came for a fight with the police”.
“It really was a disgraceful scene committed by criminals. I don’t believe this was a protest.
“It wasn’t people frustrated with the lack of ability to protest – this was people intent on causing serious disorder, violence and damage, people with a grudge against policing.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those who criticised the violence, describing it as “unacceptable”.
© Sky News 2020