Footage Captures Moment Police Officers Are Doused In Petrol During Arrest
Warning: This article contains footage some readers may find distressing
Shocking video footage captures the moment police officers were doused in petrol - while onlookers shouted 'light them up'.
Eight officers had petrol thrown over them while making an arrest in Basildon, Essex, following a high-speed chase.
They had been monitoring an event when they received reports of a motorbike being driven dangerously, prompting an eight-mile pursuit that in turn attracted a crowd.
One woman threatened police with a hammer, before 28-year-old Justin Jackson threw the fuel at them.
Following the incident, which took place in May 2019, two officers had to be taken to hospital after swallowing petrol.
PC Andrew Bird recalled what happened on last night's episode of the BBC's Critical Incident, saying he and his colleagues were used to facing some abuse, but had never experienced anything quite like this.
He explained how he'd seen a man sprinting towards him and his colleagues, which was when another man appeared with a watering can.
Initially they didn't know what was inside the container, fearing it may have been acid.
Bird said: "It was as I was trying to control this gentleman who had run out of the middle of nowhere that this other chap has appeared with a watering can.
"I could smell petrol, so I sort of fumbled around to get my baton out, but once I've got it I've put it behind my head and just struck him in line with my training."
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When the team realised the substance was petrol, they heard other members of the crowd shouting 'Who's got matches?' and 'Light them up'.
Chief Inspector Jonathan Baldwin, who was another of the eight victims that day, said: "One match, one lighter, one spark could result in us going up in flames and being disfigured for life or possibly even dead."
He added: "I don't know how we didn't just cut and run but then that's not the way we're wired - we all stuck together."
Two officers required immediate hospital treatment after the fuel went in their mouths and eyes.
Following the incident, Justin Jackson was jailed for three years and nine months for eight counts of administering a noxious substance with intent to injury, aggrieve or annoy.
Janine Justin, 47, was found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon and sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, while Shannon Jackson, 20, was charged with obstructing a constable in the execution of duty - however, this case was later dismissed.
A 17-year-old was also disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined for driving a motor vehicle dangerously.
In a statement released at the time, Baldwin said: "The events of that day will always remain with me.
"I know when I speak on behalf of the other seven officers who found themselves being doused in petrol by Jackson that it will stay with us for a long time."
He added: "What makes me most proud is that none of the officers covered in petrol and taken to hospital took any time off sick. They came back to work with fortitude, conviction and dedication because they don't just do the job for themselves, they do the job for the public."
Critical Incident airs on weekday mornings at 9.15am on BBC One. You can catch up on BBC iPlayer.
Featured Image Credit: Essex Police