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Handcuffs, helmets and boots stolen from police during Kill the Bill protest

Police laptops went missing during Bristol Kill the Bill protest
Police laptops and radios went missing after violent scenes broke out during a Kill the Bill protest in Bristol (Picture: Reuters/PA)

Police laptops and radios went missing during violent scenes at a Kill the Bill protest in Bristol, new data shows.

The highly sensitive equipment was lost or stolen as trouble flared when a rally against the proposed Government legislation turned ugly.

Two laptops went missing along with three Airwave radios, a mobile phone and a body-worn video kit. Personal equipment is also unaccounted for, including three batons, two tabards, two sets of gloves, a helmet, a baton holder, boots, overalls, sliders, a helmet visor and a set of rigid handcuffs.

Fifteen types of item went missing, according to a response from Avon and Somerset Police to a Freedom of Information request from Metro.co.uk.

The kit is marked ‘lost/stolen’ at Kill the Bill protests held in Bristol in March and while the force did not specify dates, they are most likely to have gone astray when violence broke out on March 21.

The response also shows that protesters inflicted more than £65,000 of damage to police vehicles during the demonstrations.

A list of 22 incidents of damage include two marked ‘total loss – fire’, the disclosure shows.

A further 10 are marked ‘criminal damage’ while others refer to dents where vehicles were attacked by people in the crowds.

The Kill the Bill protest in Bristol which turned into a riot with several police officers injured, March 21 2021 See SWNS story SWBRriot. The rioters surrounded New Bridewell police station and set police vehicles on fire.
The protest in Bristol turned ugly with several police officers injured after a crowd descended on New Bridewell police station (Picture: SWNS)
The Kill the Bill protest in Bristol which turned into a riot with several police officers injured, March 21 2021 See SWNS story SWBRriot. The rioters surrounded New Bridewell police station and set police vehicles on fire.
Police vans were set on fire during the first ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol on Sunday (Picture: Reuters)

In the biggest disturbance, a peaceful protest attended by around 3,000 people on College Green turned ugly when around 500 people gathered at Bridewell Police station.

Police vans were set on fire, rockets thrown into crowds of people and the station’s windows were smashed.

Officers made dozens of arrests and launched a public appeal for information.

Although further arrests were made at successive rallies against the Government’s controversial new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, these passed relatively peacefully.

Mark Shelford, police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset, told Metro.co.uk: ‘It is a fundamental right for the British people to protest but it is absolutely not acceptable in any shape or form for protests to turn into an attack on police officers, their vehicles or police stations as witnessed during the Bristol protest against the Policing, Crime and Sentencing Bill.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Demonstrators climb a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, Britain, March 21, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Demonstrators atop a police van as they take part in the protest against the new proposed policing bill (Picture: Reuters)

‘I unconditionally condemn the violent behaviour police officers faced; these officers go to work to keep people and communities safe and should not be attacked for doing their jobs.’

In its response to the Freedom of Information Act request, which was submitted in March, Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘The total costs and itemised property damage list for the above events are yet to be collated and finalised… this is not a comprehensive list, and was only accurate as of the time of your request.’

Leading the public appeal in April, detective chief superintendent Carolyn Belafonte said: ‘The financial costs of the disorder are substantial but ultimately it’s the communities of Bristol which pay the price – after all, it’s taxpayer’s money which could have been spent on safeguarding and protecting our communities.

‘We can’t let the people responsible get away with what they did. They are a disgrace and need to face the consequence of their actions.’

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘The digital assets reported lost or stolen during the riot were immediately disabled to prevent access to police systems.

‘Two of the radios have since been recovered. Enquiries into the incident, including the missing equipment, are ongoing.’

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact josh.layton@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our news page.





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