Tuesday, 20 Apr 2021

Royal Navy personnel ‘involved in mass fight’ as footage shows brawl

Police are using a combination of social media footage and officers’ body cameras to identify the people involved in two savage brawls in Plymouth on Saturday night.

Investigators have pieced together the chaotic scenes and accounts of riotous disorder near to the city’s iconic Smeaton's Tower.

Several police vehicles attended the Hoe following a number of calls about a large fight breaking out between a number of young men, which investigators have later confirmed involved not only locals but Royal Navy personnel, believed to be from HMS Drake.

Det Insp Andy Hodges said it was understandable that members of the public were disgusted with the outbreak of violence on one of the city's most iconic sights and he said police were treating the matter seriously.

He told Plymouth Live: "We've examined body-worn footage from the first officers on the scene and we are aware that there is footage from mobile phones doing the rounds on social media.

"We are very keen for people to forward this footage to us so that we can attempt to identify all those involved.

"We know that there was two isolated incidents which took place on Saturday night which were unconnected. The main one, on the grass area by Smeaton's Tower and another by the Royal Navy Memorial involving a younger group."

Det Insp Hodges said the picture was initially very confusing, with people first claiming they witnessed a mass brawl involving around 100 people. However, inquiries have now narrowed down the incident to one involving between 10 and 12 young men, and a total of eight cases of assault.

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He said: "We are looking at assaults at the level of actual bodily harm, with some quite serious injuries, including lacerations.

"However, we are very much reliant on witness accounts and video footage to determine exactly who was involved.

"This incident is being taken very seriously by police because we recognise that the Hoe is a important public landmark for Plymouth and we want people to feel completely safe attending it at any time. This behaviour is absolutely not acceptable in the city."

While he accepts that not everyone involved who may have been a victim has been willing to come forward and make a formal complaint to police, Det Insp Hodges said police were still very keen to identify those responsible.

He said: "We are looking at all avenues to identify those involved and, if appropriate, we will seek to secure prosecutions against those responsible. The investigation is ongoing and if we are able to secure video footage and images of the disorder we will consider using them to make a public appeal to identify suspects.

"If those involved wish to avoid seeing themselves in the media, they may consider coming forward now and identifying themselves with an account of what took place on Saturday night.

"There were a lot of people on the Hoe on Saturday night, the majority in small groups across the entire green area and the majority of whom had no involvement in this disorder."

"However," he added "there was a small percentage who have let the city down and it is these people we are investigating.

"If you have footage I would urge you to reconsider sharing it on social media but instead to forward it to investigators as soon as possible."

If you have any information about the incidents on the Hoe on Saturday night we would strongly urge you to come forward, call police on 101, email 101@dc.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference number CR/26162/21

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