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Police officers doused in petrol while onlookers shouted light them up

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Shocking details have emerged of the moment police officers were doused in petrol while onlookers shouted ‘light them up’.

Eight police officers have had petrol thrown over them while making an arrest in Basildon,m Essex after a high-speed chase.

The officers had been monitoring an event when they received a report of a motorbike being driven dangerously which promoted an eight mile chase.

Police officers doused in petrol while onlookers shouted light them up 1

During the arrest one women turned on the police with a hammer, before 28-year-old Justin Jackson threw fuel at the officers.

The incident happened on in May 2019 with two officers having to be taken to hospital after swallowing some of the petrol thrown over them.

Police officers doused in petrol while onlookers shouted light them up 2

The incident was documented on BBC’s Critical Incident. One of the officers PC Andrew Bird stated that the abuse he and some of his colleagues faced were like nothing he had ever experienced before.

He explained how he’d seen a man sprinting towards him and his colleagues, whichwas when another man appeared with a watering can.

Initially they didn’t know what was inside the container, fearing it may have been acid.

Police officers doused in petrol while onlookers shouted light them up 3

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.”

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.

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Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood is the editor and news reporter covering national and international news crime and policing news. Tweet your news and views to @TrevSherwoodPH

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