How not to fight crime

Whether it’s harassing bloggers, harassing and disarming victims of crime, arresting musicians for the crime of singing, the wankers that pass for police in this country are rapidly making themselves unwelcome and hated by the public.

Last week, a whole neighbourhood in Bristol erupted into running street battles between residents and police after the latter botched the arrest of a somewhat deranged sqatter by using far more force than was necessary. Over at EU Referendum, Richard North who has been chronicling what happened, estimates that at one point during the riot, up to 1000 people may have been involved. This excert from his blog (go read his whole post) gives a flavour of how it got started:

his account has ten police vans – including a contingent from the Welsh police – forming a “police line” (singular), outside “Telepathic Heights” and a riot squad entering the building. We get separate reports on this, with an estimate of 30-40 police in riot gear entering.

This narrative has the police sealing off the whole of Stokes Croft to create a “sterile area” (pictured below). At this point the police are not wearing riot gear on the street but, as a crowd gathers, the situation gets more tense. The police call in back-up, reportedly declaring that a “terrorist situation” had developed. The TSG (Tactical Support Group) “troops” take to the streets.

Access and exit were barred to residents and visitors alike. Residents who came out to find out what was going on often found themselves on the wrong side of a police cordon and were prevented from returning to their homes, leaving them to join the swelling crowd.

According to this source, the police pushed everyone fifty yards down the road (south) where a stand-off developed. To chants of “Whose street? Our street!”, bins were thrown across the road to stop further police advance. Missiles thrown at their lines. At about 9.30pm (probably slightly later), the police baton charged and injured several demonstrators with strikes to the head.

Since then, the police have exacerbated the situation, first by trying to shut down an outdoor cinema presentation of footage of the riot a few days ago, and then actually provoking another riot last night when they showed up at a protest directed at the previous police actions that led to the first riot, tooled up and clearly looking for a fight.

It’s almost as if they trying to get themselves injured or killed.