Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham riots: Officer speaks of 'ambush'

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Media captionPolice footage shows rioting and looting in Birmingham

A West Midlands police officer has spoken about how he and colleagues were shot at during the recent disorder in Birmingham.

Eleven shots were fired at officers and the force helicopter in Newtown during the late evening of 9 August.

Petrol bombs were also thrown at a marked police car and the Bartons Arms pub was damaged.

The unnamed officer said it felt like an ambush as a gunshot was heard.

The officer, whom police are not naming for "operational reasons", said he and colleagues had taken cover behind police vehicles once the gunshot had been heard.

"It definitely felt like an ambush and as we moved forward it was only seconds before we heard a gunshot," he said.

"We'd heard that sound before and we know straight away that there was at least one gun in the crowd."

'It's our job'

That was when he and colleagues took cover behind their vehicles.

"In the back of our mind there is the thought that someone is prepared to take a shot at us or anyone.

"We do what we are trained to do, it's our job, but the thought is always there."

Eleven shots were fired, he added, and that could have been 11 police officers that were lost that night.

"Each one of those bullets could have killed someone. It doesn't bear thinking about."

He said support from the public, with comments put on social media, had given police morale a boost.

Over the weekend, police released CCTV footage showing shots being fired at officers as well as the police helicopter.

The footage shows a group of up to 40 young men in Newtown, all masked and wearing black clothing.

They caused extensive damage, police said.

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