17th October 2020, 22:10
A disturbance involving large crowds of people and a number of police officers at Chatham Counterguard last night has been filmed and widely circulated on social media.
In answer to GBC questions, the RGP has confirmed that two people were arrested for public order offences. GBC understands both have been released on bail.
An eyewitness who watched the drama unfold, told GBC that tempers frayed when police officers attempted to move the crowd on after bars and restaurants had closed at 1am.
At 1.05am, just as they were leaving, she alleges that a policeman asked her companion to throw his plastic drink cup on the floor. When the man refused, placing his cup on the table instead, the police officer allegedly asked him for his ID card, which the man reportedly did not have on him.
Seeing tensions rise, a family member attempted to remove the individual from the situation. He was then arrested and taken to New Mole House where he was released a few hours later on bail.
Another eyewitness told GBC that crowds started leaving the area at around 12.45am, given Covid-19 regulations in place for all bars and restaurants to close at 1am.
He said the crowd became aware of a man filming them and became angry. One individual reportedly stood in front of the camera to prevent the cameraman from filming the young people who had been enjoying a night out.
This appears to be confirmed in the film by a police officer who can be heard telling the cameraman to put his camera away.
One young man can be seen to be handcuffed and taken away in a police van, as crowds shouted that ‘he did not do anything’. Many have also taken to social media to vent their anger at what has been described by some as heavy-handed police tactics in attempting to disperse the Friday night crowd.
There are accusations that police officers were playing up to the camera, with the cameraman filming the scene for the UK TV series “Cops on the Rock” to be shown on the entertainment channel Dave.
According to producers Rare TV, filming has already started in Gibraltar. The series takes an in-depth look at the work of the Royal Gibraltar Police.
However, the RGP has told GBC this evening that the incident was fuelled by alcohol with many people in the area intoxicated. It says it continues to investigate further offences that may have been committed during the incident.
In relation to the camera crew who were there with the RGP officers during the evening filming for the UK production, it says the matter is sub-judice and as such no further comment will be made at this stage.
The RGP says it would like to remind the public that current COVID-19 Regulations prevents the consumption of alcohol in public areas after 11pm and requires the closure of licenced premises at 1am.
Speaking to GBC, Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger said "the worrying thing about this is we are doing a difficult job which is necessary because of the legal requirements brought about by the pandemic. We will want the public to comply through engaging, encouraging and explaining. " Enforcement, he said was a last resort, but one the RGP would resort to if necessary. The Commissioner said the RGP wants people to enjoy themselves and have fun, but they must behave responsibly, familiarise themselves with the regulations and police themselves.