Teens arrested after Suffolk flour and egg attack ‘not placed under police protection’
PUBLISHED: 06:26 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:36 03 August 2018
The teenagers arrested in connection with an attack on a vulnerable woman in west Suffolk last week have not been placed in police protection, officers have clarified.
The victim, a woman aged in her 40s, was reported to have been assaulted by a group of teenagers who threw flour and eggs over her after a row in St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds.
The woman was said have been “severely distressed” but unharmed.
The assault, which happened at around 5.30pm on Friday, July 27, sparked nationwide outrage after a picture of the incident was shared on social media.
Suffolk police have warned the public not to take the law into their own hands saying we do ‘not support vigilantism in any way, shape or form.”
However, some national newspapers were critical of Suffolk Constabulary after wrongly claiming the suspects had been placed in police protection for their own safety.
In a move to correct the errors, Kim Warner, county policing commander for West Suffolk, issued the following statement: “For the sake of clarity, and to correct some misleading reports in the national press, we have not put in place police protection for the suspects who have been arrested.
“However, we have provided personal safety and security advice to them in order to prevent any retaliatory incidents.
“We know this incident may have caused concern and anger both in the local community and online, but I would like to reassure everyone the police are tackling the matter robustly.
“We immediately responded to the attack by arresting five suspects who have been released on police bail, pending further enquiries. A sixth boy was also questioned under caution and he remains under investigation.
“We have continued to provide the necessary and appropriate support to the victim - her safety and support through the criminal justice system remains paramount.
“Anyone proven to have committed an offence must face the consequences of their actions, but we do not want members of the public taking the law into their own hands.
“We need to let the justice system take its course. Additionally, social media users should remember that sharing names and images, which may later form part of a criminal investigation, can disrupt or jeopardise the case.
“Bury St Edmunds is a town with a wonderful community spirit, with so much to celebrate and is full of people who collectively work very hard to make it a better place to live. Let us not have these efforts spoilt by the actions of a very small minority.”