Delingpole: Police Force Goes Woke, Bristol City Centre Gets Broke

Bristol
Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Avon and Somerset Police have just discovered the meaning of the phrase ‘Who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind’, after Sunday’s incident in which a violent leftist mob attacked a police station in Bristol, smashing windows, torching police cars, spraying graffiti, and injuring at least 20 police officers.

All my sympathies are with the injured officers, especially the two who were most badly hurt. According to the Daily Mail they “were taken to hospital suffering broken bones after being stamped on, pelted with stones and beaten with sticks in the violent skirmishes.”

But I have no sympathy whatsoever with Bristol police’s senior officers who, in my view, invited this disaster with their politically correct attitudes and woefully lax policing methods. This was epitomised by the incident last year when they caved to a Black Lives Matter mob by allowing a statue to be ripped down from a plinth in the city centre — and then looked on, almost admiringly, as the crowd dragged the statue to the city docks and dumped it in the sea.

That first incident occurred in June 2020, at the height of a BLM-inspired fit of iconoclasm when no statue anywhere in Britain was safe from the vengeful, woke mob. The mob’s target in Bristol was a statue of philanthropist and parliamentarian Edward Colston (1636–1721), who endowed numerous charitable institutions in the city including hospitals, schools, and almshouses, but who, like many merchants of his era, was involved with the slave trade.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this flagrant act of civic vandalism was that it took place with the tacit support of the local constabulary.

As Breitbart News reported at the time, the police officer in charge of the operation — one Superintendent Andy Bennett — appeared to sympathise with the mob.

Bennett described Colston as “a historical figure who has caused the black community quite a lot of angst” and said “I do understand why it’s happened, it’s very symbolic”:

“We made a very tactical decision that to stop them from doing the act may have caused further disorder, and we decided the safest [thing] to do, in terms of our policing tactics, was to allow it to take place,” he explained.

“[T]he right thing to do was just to allow it to happen, because what we did not want is tension,” he added, telling reporters he had “no regrets”.

Bennett seemed blithely unaware that his job, as a policeman, is to keep public order — not to engage in Social Justice Warrior politicking. Indeed, he appeared to exult in his political activism, subsequently claiming that Bristol had every right to be proud of this act of vandalism.

He said:

“People will say we allowed them to roll it all the way to the docks… if you’ve got a police cordon protecting a statue of a man who made his money trading slaves, you can imagine how different things might have been.”

And:

“I know it was the right thing to do for the safety of everyone. No-one got hurt and we had no arrests in the whole protest. That is 10,000 passionate people. Bristol should be proud of itself.”

More shamingly still, far from being punished for his pusillanimity and his failure to keep order, Bennett was actually rewarded in the New Year Honours with a Queen’s Policing Medal.

This craven attitude on the part of Bennett and Avon & Somerset Police acted like an open invitation to further violence. The Black Bloc — the hard-left fascist group which includes elements of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and Extinction Rebellion — duly accepted, with 20 policemen injured as a consequence.

The violent behaviour of the hard left rioters in Bristol contrasted starkly with the peaceful behaviour of the much larger, non-politically-aligned crowds which took part in Freedom Marches on Saturday in London and Manchester.

While the Freedom Marches got almost no coverage in the mainstream media, the Black Bloc thugs of course got plenty. No doubt the hard left’s disgusting behaviour will be seized on by the government as just the excuse it needs to justify its draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 which effectively abolishes the right to protest in Britain.

But the people it will be used to target won’t be the hard-left fascist groups like BLM, Antifa and XR (towards which the government appears oddly sympathetic) but the peaceful groups protesting against lockdown. Two-tier Police State Britain is getting scarier by the day.

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