We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
The Home Secretary condemned “stomach churning” footage of yobs pelting officers, left, with missiles and smashing emergency vehicles in Brixton, south London. She said officers have her full support in tackling thugs as police warned of disgraceful levels of violence directed towards them. Police were forced to retreat at the gathering on Wednesday night after yobs armed with bottles, makeshift bats and what appeared to be a sword moved towards them. The Daily Express understands 32 officers were injured during the brutal attacks.
Senior frontline police fear someone could be killed as they face “anger and hatred” from louts.
They warned officers are only escaping death or serious injury through luck. Hundreds have been injured during protests in recent weeks in London.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, yesterday warned 85 officers are attacked every day and this number is increasing in the “pressure cooker” of the Covid-19 lockdown and protests over police brutality in the US.
Some of the thugs in Brixton were also armed with knives, according to police sources.
Forces chiefs are understood to be reinforcing the ranks for “super Saturday” amid fears of more disorder when pubs and restaurants reopen next weekend.
Writing exclusively for the Daily Express today, the Home Secretary hails last weekend’s extreme police bravery in Reading when officers prevented a knife maniac causing further fatalities. She said: “But just five days later, we saw these utterly vile scenes in Brixton. Video footage that can only be described as stomach churning.
“The police have my full support in upholding the rule of law and tackling this thuggery.
“I want to see those responsible arrested, brought to justice and taken off our streets – before they put even more people in danger.”
In one video, a man can be heard telling a group of officers to “back up” as he confronts them with what appears to be a sword. Another two men were seen carrying a large wooden table before ripping off its legs and running at the police, who started to retreat as the crowd descended on them.
The Metropolitan Police last night said four people have been arrested for assault and public order offences.
The disorder was repeated in incidents in Brighton, Devon and Merseyside. Devon and Cornwall Police summoned “all available units” to a mass brawl among youths in Exmouth on Wednesday night.
In Brighton, hundreds of drunken teenagers celebrating what should have been the last day of GCSEs had to be moved on by police after brawls broke out on the seafront on Wednesday night. Residents told of scenes of mayhem as officers were forced to issue a dispersal order for Hove Lawns.
Merseyside Police said they would move on any troublemakers at Formby Beach after youths gathered in large numbers on the sand dunes.
Five arrests were made for drink and drugs offences and music equipment was seized.
Mr Apter said: “We’ve seen about 250 police officers injured in recent weeks, that’s just an unimaginable number.
“The scale of the disorder in Brixton and the targeting of my colleagues is an absolute disgrace. We’re reaching the point where it’s only through fortune that my colleagues Just are not being more seriously injured or in fact killed.
“That is how bad it is getting. Policing is really difficult with the crisis that we are in, we’re starting to move to an easing of the lockdown, which is going to create its own special pressures.
“We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. If we police too soft, we’re criticised, if we go in harder, then our critics will criticise us even harder.
“Violence on our streets against police officers is certainly increasing.
“I understand there is a lot of frustration at the moment, a lot of anger, not only because of what has happened overseas but also because of this pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on all of us. It has created a pressure cooker. My colleagues are having to deal with the brunt of that. Somebody is going to be killed.
“We need to put these people in prison where they belong because this is not acceptable at any level.”
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said colleagues faced “an absolute volley of anger and hatred towards the police” during violent scenes in Brixton.
Mr Marsh described the incident, which comes after dozens of officers were injured in protests in London in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US, as “absolutely shocking”. He said: “This violence is despicable. Yet again our brave colleagues in London have come under attack.
“My colleagues are human beings as well – and suddenly in scenes like last night they’re confronted by people who ultimately want to cause them grievous damage.
“You can’t prepare for that. It’s deplorable.
We emphasise again that police officers are not punchbags. Colleagues should be going home to their families at the end of their shifts and not to hospital. My colleagues are faced with all sorts of trauma from these incidents. We wish all injured officers well and a swift recovery.”
Mr Marsh also warned of more disorder when pubs reopen on July 4. He said: “It’s very concerning for us because the weather is warm and people have been unable to gather for a long, long time.
“My concerns are obviously as we move towards July 4, how the public are going to respond to that, because ultimately it always seems to fall on the police’s shoulders to deal with everything.
“I would say to everybody, there is no place in society for disorder and wanting to cause violence and pain and grief towards public and police alike.”
COMMENT BY PRITI PATEL
Last weekend, the whole country came together to praise our heroic police officers for putting their own lives on the line to keep us safe.
We saw a student police officer run toward danger without a second thought, potentially saving countless lives, while risking his own, showing courage, bravery and selflessness way beyond his years.
But just five days later, we saw these utterly vile scenes in Brixton. Video footage that can only be described as stomach churning. Individuals flouting the law by holding a large unlicensed music event in the street.
We know the risk of transmission is greater in large groups, and the actions people took not only put themselves and others at potential risk of spreading the virus but they also showed absolutely no respect for their neighbours or community.
Refusing to engage with the police. Purposely attempting to hurt police officers and vandalise police vehicles. The police have my full support in upholding the rule of law and tackling this thuggery.
It is why I am looking to double the maximum sentence for those who assault police officers.
My message to them could not be clearer. I want to see those responsible arrested, brought to justice and taken off our streets – before they put even more people in danger.
Source: Read Full Article