Avon & Somerset Police have released an image of a male they would like to speak to after a lit item was placed under a police van while a police officer was inside during the riot in Bristol that happened last weekend.
Forty officers were injured during the disorder, two seriously, as a mob set fire to police vehicles and vandalised a police station. The violent group also attacked a member of the press.
The officer, who was inside the van, has described first hearing on the radio how his colleagues were being injured outside the Bridewell police station.
“I was aware from the radio that my colleagues were under attack outside the front of Bridewell police station where damage had been caused…I could hear screaming and shouting from the officers as they were being attacked – a call was made for vehicles to be used to assist officers.
“The only way to protect my colleagues was to place the vehicle across, side on, in front of them to offer protection. There were glass bottles, rocks as big as fists, pallets, fences and other objects strewn across the road and being used against the police.
“Whilst in the vehicle, a number of people attempted to gain entry to it, however the vehicle was bolted shut.
“I was aware of the smell of burning and CCTV reported that people were attempting to set the vehicle tyres alight, with me still in it, and so I began to prepare to decamp the vehicle.”
Ch Supt Carolyn Belafonte, who is overseeing the investigation into the disorder, said:
“This officer’s account is just one of many we’ve gathered from our colleagues at the scene of this terrifying incident. It’s upsetting to hear how colleagues feared for their lives that night and it strengthens our resolve to bring all those responsible to justice.
“Our investigation is continuing at pace but it is painstaking work.
“Our online gallery, which currently has 18 images within it, has been viewed more than 80,000 times since it was launched – and we’ve received more than 200 calls and around 280 evidential submissions from the public to date. This is a phenomenal response and we’re grateful for every piece of information.
“I would ask people to look at the latest image we have released and call us if you know who it is – or you can provide information via a dedicated form on our website
Watch the moment when a rioter tried to set fire to a police van as the officer inside tried to move away from other burning vehicles:
CLICK HERE to view the other images which have been released by Avon & Somerset Police.
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