Bristol’s police force has admitted that its claims two officers suffered broken bones in a night of protests were untrue.
Protests on Sunday night saw 21 officers injured, police vehicles set alight and a police station’s windows smashed in Bristol.
It was followed by violent scenes on College Green on Tuesday night as police confronted demonstrators against the controversial new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Footage from the event showed officers pulling a man away from a crowd by his hair.
Chief Supt Will White claimed at the time: “What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into a violent disorder. Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence. One suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. Both have been taken to hospital.”
But on Wednesday Avon and Somerset Police admitted neither officer had been found to have suffered broken bones.
In a statement, the force said it was investigating assaults on 40 officers and one member of the media.
It added: “Thankfully following a full medical assessment of the two officers taken to hospital, neither were found to have suffered confirmed broken bones.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.
Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail time.
Home secretary Priti Patel has criticised the “criminality and violent behaviour” seen during the Bristol protests.
“We live in an open society and a democracy so the principle to protest and to have your voice heard is absolutely crucial,” she told BBC Breakfast, “but there is no acceptability at all for criminality, thuggish behaviour and the type of violent scenes we’ve seen over recent evenings, they included the most appalling assaults and criminal attacks on police officers, there’s a fundamental difference between the two.”