Police confirm officers did not suffer broken bones at Bristol protest

26 March 2021
What was claimed

Police officers suffered broken bones at a Bristol protest.

Our verdict

This is incorrect. Avon and Somerset police initially said two police officers had broken bones, but have since retracted this.

Last week Avon and Somerset police claimed that two officers had suffered broken bones, and one of those had a punctured lung, following protests in Bristol on 21 March, in opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

It has now emerged that this is not the case.

Posts on Facebook correctly claim that the police have now confirmed that officers did not suffer broken bones during the protests, despite initially stating that they had. 

In a statement on the day of the protests, Avon and Somerset police said: “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.”

Another statement said 20 officers were injured, and one of the officers with broken bones also had a punctured lung.

The claim that broken bones were suffered by the police officers was widely reported in the media. 

However, in a further statement, released on 24 March, the force said: “We are now investigating assaults on 40 officers and one member of the media. Thankfully following a full medical assessment of the two officers taken to hospital, neither were found to have suffered confirmed broken bones.”

The force also updated their 21 March statement to say: “Our initial information suggested two officers had broken bones. Thankfully the injuries – while still serious – did not involve fractures. We believed the information had been verified but it had not, and while we apologise for that there was no intention to mislead.”  The force also shared this update on Twitter.

The screenshot of a news story being shared on Facebook with the headline ‘police confirm officers did not suffer broken bones at Bristol protest’ is genuine, and comes from ITV News.

We have also written about false claims that a police car which was set alight during the protest was a “prop”.  

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because the police have confirmed officers did not suffer these injuries.

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