Battle of Stokes Croft - builder Simon Lewis mauled by police dogs

category bristol | policing | news report author Saturday June 25, 2011 13:57author by Tony Gosling Report this post to the editors

On Bristol Community FM's Friday Drivetime yesterday evening we heard from Montpelier builder Simon Lewis who was attacked by three police dogs and hospitalised on the second night of the Easter 'disturbances'. This is the third programe I have focussed on those riots and the third time Avon & Somerset police press office have turned down my invitaton to appear. 
This is a decision made not by officers but at Portishead HQ by Media Relations Manager Victoria Tag and her boss, Amanda Hirst, Head of Corporate Communications for Avon and Somerset Police. These decisions appear to contravene the publicly funded police's committment to dialogue with the community.
Avon & Somerset's Force's Media and Public Relations Policy states as follows: 'the philosophy underpinning that policy is to be open, honest, fair and accountable with the media and, through the media, with the communities we serve.'

Bristol builder Simon Lewis mauled by police dogs at Easter disturbances - hi-fi hi-fi - lo-fi

Hearing Simon's horrific tale I respectfully suggest that far too many people appear to have been attacked, who were simply witnessing as bystanders, filming or on their way home on those evenings. 
Not by rioters but by the police who still remain to be held to account for their actions. 
Please forward this petition to other email lists as you deem appropriate.

PS legal adviser to Avon & Somerset police is Ms Susan Dauncey. (Bradley Stoke, Gloucestershire)



Inquiry into Stokes Croft Disturbances
Lead petitioner : Ben Appleby

We the undersigned call upon Bristol City Council to use all means open to them to lobby national government for a full public inquiry into the events leading up to and including the disturbances in and around the area of Stokes Croft, Bristol on the nights of the 21/22 April and 28/29 April.

Background information

The violent disturbances on the dates of 21/22 April and 28/29 April are scenes that should not be repeated in Bristol or other cities. We the undersigned believe that the background to these events raises serious concerns in a number of national policy areas including, but not limited to the following: the impact of councils and planning processes on local communities; policing tactics; the role of very large corporations in local communities; housing provision and uses of derelict buildings.

An independent inquiry, funded from national sources, with a broad remit must be commissioned:

to present an unbiased chronology of the events of the two nights in question

to identify the true causes and long term factors leading up to and contributing to the disturbances

to analyse how the parties involved responded in the aftermath of the disturbances

to present recommendations to be taken on board by policy developers in the specific areas the report will highlight

The aftermath of the disturbances is of ongoing concern to the residents of Stokes Croft and surrounding areas. It is our strong belief that resolution can only be achieved via a public inquiry. The findings of the inquiry will be of national significance and will help other communities around the country.

Related Link:
author by Dog victimpublication date Thu Jun 30, 2011 08:40Report this post to the editors

No, the case was run on a mix of legal aid and no win no fee for the lawyers. If I'd taken it to the next level it would all have depended on the whim of an establishment judge and I could have lost everything. Such cases are incredibly time consuming and expense consuming in all directions. I suffer from a condition which makes it even more exhausting and stressful for me than it might be for you. Two years I waited just to get this far.

There are many battles to be fought in life, and if one diverts all one's energies into a peripheral one that is not that desperate to survival or favourable for a worthwhile outcome, then when the big one comes you have nothing left.

Mr Lewis got it worse than I did. He may feel it's worth fighting on past the stage I reached, but no-one should rush to judge him if he doesn't.

author by Dogpublication date Wed Jun 29, 2011 15:42Report this post to the editors

Hardly a victory, except for the lawyers.

author by Dog victimpublication date Wed Jun 29, 2011 09:57Report this post to the editors

I too was attacked by an Avon Police dog in the Iraq War protest by schoolchildren. I was not part of the demo - I am not a school kid and I was just passing by. However this did not stop one goon setting his dog on me near the centre's cenotaph and inflicting injuries which I carry to this day.

When I registered my complaint after going to A&E, I learned that the said dog had also mauled a police officer!

I was promptly visited by the head of the Avon Police Dog Unit in my home to ask me to not proceed with my complaint: a legally irregular action if you ask me. Then they 'accidentally erased' the CCTV footage. Incredibly, even after this the PCA still found 'nothing wrong' with the police version of events.

I hung on and fought it as a civil case, funding for which which was eventually approved by a panel of barristers. At last the police caved in and offered me compensation if I dropped the case. I didn't want to accept - I wanted a public apology and admittance of being in the wrong - but I was advised that accepting was the better tactical choice, and although it was not ideal in a sense I'd won a victory. It had taken two years to get to this level, so I called it a day. Yet it still pisses me off that the police behaved in such a morally cowardly way.

I wish the best of luck to Simon Lewis but unfortunately I know what he can expect!

author by Deepublication date Tue Jun 28, 2011 00:49author email gaye at pht dot comReport this post to the editors

"had to be brought under control by grabbing hold of the horses reins to prevent them being instructed to trample on children"

Makes no sense to me...

author by memory lanepublication date Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:29Report this post to the editors

Oh, and lets not forget the occasions when Bristol's finest set attack dogs on peaceful anti-war protestors in Bristol over the Iraq war. A good few people got their legs, arms and bums bitten by those tormented beasts. In any other context the owners would be fined or imprisoned for owning dangerous dogs, and the dogs put down.

So, let's not accept the bullshit line that attack dogs were only used due to it being a riot. Bristol's politically biased finest love any opportunity to set dogs, horses, batons and riot vans upon protestors, peaceful or otherwise. One night they got caught out by beating up two apprentice journalists, and for a moment were exposed by the media for what they are.

Let's expose them again.

Don't let this be forgotten.

They are totally corrupt.

author by memory lanepublication date Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:14Report this post to the editors

Reminds me of when the mounted police in Bristol, during the anti-war school protests, had to be brought under control by grabbing hold of the horses reins to prevent them being instructed to trample on children.

Bristol's finest have history, and it's a pretty disgusting one.

author by deepublication date Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:05author email sf at toony dot comReport this post to the editors

What was he doing to be attacked by dogs?

How awful.

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