Police charge man, 25, with attempting to set fire to a police van

Police today charged a man with trying to set a police van on fire during the Kill The Bill riots in Bristol. 

Officers charged Ryan Paul Roberts, 25, with attempted arson with intent to endanger life, after he was arrested following a police appeal earlier this week. 

It came after the force last week appealed for information about a suspect who put a lit item under a police van during the disturbance outside Bridewell police station.  

Officers charged Ryan Paul Roberts, 25, with attempted arson with intent to endanger life, after he was arrested following a police appeal earlier this week. Pictured: Police had earlier released an image of a man they wanted to speak to in relation to the riot

Officers charged Ryan Paul Roberts, 25, with attempted arson with intent to endanger life, after he was arrested following a police appeal earlier this week. Pictured: Police had earlier released an image of a man they wanted to speak to in relation to the riot

Officers charged Ryan Paul Roberts, 25, with attempted arson with intent to endanger life, after he was arrested following a police appeal earlier this week. Pictured: Police had earlier released an image of a man they wanted to speak to in relation to the riot

Roberts has also been charged with two counts of criminal damage and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker over the protests in Bristol on March 21. 

He has been remanded in custody to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court tomorrow. 

In total, 29 people have now been arrested in connection with the riot – which followed on from a peaceful protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. 

It saw 500 people march on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attack the station. 

Since the first demonstration there have been three other protests in the city against the Government’s proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Protests on March 23 and 26 ended in clashes between the police and protesters. 

A further demonstration on March 30 passed off peacefully.

The proposed 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, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.

Officers are continuing to investigate assaults on 40 officers and one member of the media at the riot.

During the ugly scenes, police officers were injured, force vehicles were set on fire and the windows of a police station smashed. 

The riot saw 500 people march on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attack the station

The riot saw 500 people march on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attack the station

The riot saw 500 people march on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attack the station

A video grab of a man trying to set the van on fire outside Bridewell police station during the riots on March 21

A video grab of a man trying to set the van on fire outside Bridewell police station during the riots on March 21

A video grab of a man trying to set the van on fire outside Bridewell police station during the riots on March 21

An officer later described first hearing on the radio how colleagues were being injured outside the Bridewell police station.

They said: ‘I was aware from the radio that my colleagues were under attack outside the front of Bridewell police station where damage had been caused.

‘I could hear screaming and shouting from the officers as they were being attacked – a call was made for vehicles to be used to assist officers.

‘The only way to protect my colleagues was to place the vehicle across, side on, in front of them to offer protection.

‘There were glass bottles, rocks as big as fists, pallets, fences and other objects strewn across the road and being used against the police.

‘Whilst in the vehicle, a number of people attempted to gain entry to it, however the vehicle was bolted shut.

‘I was aware of the smell of burning and CCTV reported that people were attempting to set the vehicle tyres alight, with me still in it, and so I began to prepare to decamp the vehicle.’

‘Whilst in the vehicle, a number of people attempted to gain entry to it, however the vehicle was bolted shut.

‘I was aware of the smell of burning and CCTV reported that people were attempting to set the vehicle tyres alight, with me still in it, and so I began to prepare to decamp the vehicle.’

In total, 29 people have now been arrested in connection with the riot - which followed on from a peaceful protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

In total, 29 people have now been arrested in connection with the riot - which followed on from a peaceful protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

In total, 29 people have now been arrested in connection with the riot – which followed on from a peaceful protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Ch Supt Carolyn Belafonte, who is overseeing the investigation into the disorder, said: ‘This officer’s account is just one of many we’ve gathered from our colleagues at the scene of this terrifying incident.

‘It’s upsetting to hear how colleagues feared for their lives that night and it strengthens our resolve to bring all those responsible to justice.

‘Our investigation is continuing at pace but it is painstaking work.

‘Our online gallery, which currently has 18 images within it, has been viewed more than 80,000 times since it was launched – and we’ve received more than 200 calls and around 280 evidential submissions from the public to date.

‘This is a phenomenal response and we’re grateful for every piece of information.

‘I would ask people to look at the latest image we have released and call us if you know who it is – or you can provide information via a dedicated form on our website.’

The force has received around 280 submissions after appealing for members of the public to supply footage or information about those involved, as well as more than 200 calls.

Two officers taken to hospital during the riot were later found not to have suffered broken bones.

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