Activist says police should stop investigating Kill the Bill riot on two year Bristol anniversary

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Today marks two years to the day since violent clashes broke out in Bristol during a Kill the Bill protest.

On the 21 March 2021, violence erupted on the city's streets after a peaceful protest against new proposed police powers turned angry.

The riot saw 44 police officers injured, traumatising many who were on shift that night.

The riot investigation is the largest inquiry in Avon and Somerset's near 50 year history. Thousands of hours have been spent investigating the events of that night.

So far, 32 people people have been jailed for a total of 99 years. Police estimate the cost of repairing all the damage was more than £250,000.

So far, 32 people people have been jailed for a total of 99 years.

The investigation is ongoing and the force is still appealing for information on 22 more people.

But James Ward, an activist who was there on the night, said it is time for the police to stop: "There are many worse crimes being committed, many more crimes that have a much deeper social impact than the actions of a few individuals on one night.

"It may have caused some immaterial damage to a police station, which was repaired within a few weeks.

"So police to still be chasing people two years down the line, it raises very serious questions about their priorities and what they're doing with what is, at the end of the day, public money."

In response, Avon and Somerset Police said: "What happened on 21 March 2021 is a stain on the city of Bristol.

"Wanton violence and damage is never acceptable and it's only right those who carried out criminal acts during the riot face the consequences of their actions."

Activist James Ward believes the police should stop investigating

Many of the 32 sentenced so far have been convicted of riot - a relatively rare offence in Britain.

For example, one of the convicted was 25-year-old Francesca Horn, who was filmed attacking police, ripping a wing mirror and throwing a missile.

Horn received a five year ten month prison sentence.

Digital evidence was presented at Horn’s trial which included CCTV and mobile phone footage as well as evidence from officers’ body-worn cameras.

The clips shows Horn spitting at officers, kicking and throwing their shields at them, and ripping off the wing mirror of a police van.

  • Footage shows Horn attack officers during the Bristol riot

James Ward commented on the ages of people sentenced: "Many of the convictions that we have seen are young people in their early 20s who are going to prison, in some cases, up to five years.

"That is going to have a very significant impact on them for the rest of their lives. They are young people with talents and skills and aspirations and dreams which have been taken away from them - and by doing so, taken away from society.

"Those young people won't go on to fulfil the potential that they had."

In total so far, these 32 people are serving nearly a total of 100 years behind bars. More prosecutions are expected in the coming months and stretching into 2024.