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'Police officers are not going to be punching bags'

ONE HUNDRED badly behaved spectators, 50 police and 12 arrests.

The aftermath of the Ipswich Rugby League grand final on Sunday was mayhem.

The arrest of one person within the grounds of the North Ipswich Reserve, and the subsequent involvement of his family and friends in surrounding streets, escalated into an ugly scene.

Police used capsicum spray and tasers to subdue agitators.

Of the 12 people arrested, 11 were charged. They are all due to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on October 16.

Inspector Keith McDonald said the majority of charges related to serious assault on police, obstructing police, resisting arrest and public nuisance.

A 38-year-old senior constable was knocked out. He received cuts to his forehead, nose, right cheek and jaw when he was allegedly punched by a person he was trying to arrest. One offender sustained a broken arm. Two female police officers received minor injuries.

The fracas ignited on the back of one arrest.

"It was a situation where a gentleman was arrested, and the other members of the family didn't like the fact that a member of their family had been arrested," Insp McDonald said.

"They publicly displayed their displeasure to the police officers that were present.

"As other members of the community were leaving the ground, their attention was drawn to the fact that these people were having an ongoing argument with police officers. That has attracted other people who were departing... to become involved with police."

Onlookers have told the QT that police were heavy-handed and escalated the situation.

"Over the whole incident, and bearing in mind this incident has gone for over 30 minutes, police officers have shown enormous restraint," Insp McDonald said.

"This incident could have escalated to a higher level of violence and more police and members of the community could have been injured.

"Officers… have used the use of force options available to them in the circumstances that needed to be deployed or utilised.

"We want to ensure the public attend these events safely… have a good time and an enjoyable time, and get home safely."

"We all want to create safe communities and the behaviour of these people was unacceptable by any community standards. Police officers are not going to be punching bags. We are members of the community as well."

Topics:  editors picks, ipswich magistrates court



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