Police horses and riders given awards for courage at Bristol riots

The mounted team during the riot last year. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Avon and Somerset Police’s mounted team have been given an award following their role in policing the Bristol riots.

The riots broke out on 21 March following a peaceful protest against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Police horses and their riders faced a "hostile situation" in which missiles were thrown at officers, police vans attacked, demobilised and set on fire and the police station targeted.

Police vans were targeted during the riots in Bristol.

Several of the team were on horseback for 12 hours and went on to carry out reassurance patrols for their local communities the following day, according to Avon and Somerset Police.

PS Clarke and PCs Tracey Small, Beth Enright, Tristan Smith, Rowan Webber and Trudi Wilsher have now been presented with the Police Horse and Officer Action of the Year award.

They are the first people to ever receive the Police Horse and Officer Action of the Year award. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Chief Superintendent Claire Armes, Head of the Operational Support Directorate at Avon and Somerset Police said: “What our officers and horses experienced were levels of violence like nothing they had seen before. 

"The courage and resilience they displayed was a credit to their characters, their training and to the outstanding bonds of loyalty and trust that our officers have built with their horses.

“Seeing our mounted section team recognised for their professionalism, bravery, dedication and commitment with such a prestigious award makes us immensely proud and we thank them, and all of their colleagues who experienced the terrible events in March, for their outstanding work in protecting the public and their colleagues.

“Our police horses have played a major role in every single public order incident in Avon and Somerset in the past 30 years, helping us contain and manage major incidents, protect the public and prevent injuries.

"They are, beyond doubt, a hugely valuable asset to our service.”