Bristol police chief accepts force was slow to correct protest injury claims

A police commander has accepted that his force was too slow to correct a false claim that two officers had suffered broken bones during clashes with “kill the bill” protesters in Bristol.

Supt Mark Runacres, the Bristol area commander, also said he regretted that demonstrators had been injured during a subsequent night of violence when police with riot shields, dogs and horses dispersed them.

Speaking to the Guardian before a planned fifth protest in the city on Saturday, which may turn into a focal point for a national day of action, Runacres said Avon and Somerset police were committed to working with the organisers to facilitate a peaceful event.

After the first protest against the government’s police, crime, sentencing and courts bill on 21 March outside Bridewell police station in the city centre, the force said 40 officers had been injured including two who suffered broken bones. Three days later it said that no bones had been broken, but it stands by the number of injuries sustained.

Runacres said it was “hugely regrettable” that wrong information was initially given. but that it had been an honest mistake.

“The clarification came later than we could have done. We could have been on to that quicker. I understand the issue that has created around mistrust for some,” he said.

Source: (The Guardian)