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British politics live: Starmer says Colston statue should have been removed, but pulled down “completely wrong” | Politics

I wanted to tell you about the police at the protest in Bristol this weekend.

We went to great lengths before the protests to warn people not to attend due to the risk of spreading Covid. But as expected, people came and there were more than 10,000 people.

In the middle of the demonstration, we saw CCTV footage in our people control room atop the Colston statue.

In two minutes, this statue had been destroyed.

We had deployed officers to respond in order to take appropriate action, but the commanders on the ground decided not to intervene.

Arresting suspects would likely result in injuries to suspects, injuries to officers and people not involved in property damage being thrown into a very violent confrontation with the police which could have had serious ramifications for the city of Bristol and beyond.

Can you imagine scenes from Bristol police fighting with protesters who damaged the statue of a man known to have made up much of his fortune through the slave trade?

I think that would have had very serious consequences and, although I certainly do not condone crime or damages of any kind, I fully support the actions of my officers.

They responded with common sense, judgment and in the best interest of public safety.

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