Chaotic scenes unfolded on a Wirral estate as two teenagers were arrested after a delivery driver’s motorbike was stolen.
A police chase led to the suspects being detained in Leasowe following a pursuit that involved a force helicopter.
Officers were then surrounded by a crowd of onlookers that shouted at them while one of the teens was pinned to the ground.
The tension escalated when a police officer – who had repeatedly urged the onlookers to step away – appeared to push a woman who approached him.
Others from within the crowd then burst forward, with one male seemingly aiming a kick at the officer – who responded by squirting a pepper-spray like substance.
INCIDENT UNFOLDED AFTER DELIVERY DRIVER’S BIKE STOLEN
The incident was sparked by reports a fast food delivery driver had his motorbike stolen while he was collecting an order at around 1.40pm on Saturday.
Two males reportedly pulled up on a different bike, with one jumping off to take the delivery driver’s vehicle.
The victim was said to have been “extremely distressed” by the theft.
Merseyside Police scrambled a National Police Air Service helicopter in a bid to track down the stolen bike, prompting a pursuit of two suspects.
One dumped a bike during the chase and officers then tracked down the suspects travelling together until the bike they were riding broke down on Mackenzie Road in Leasowe at around 3.25pm.
Footage from onlookers then captured the frantic scenes that followed.
TENSION GREW AS ONLOOKERS COMPLAINED OF TEEN’S ARREST
The mobile phone video showed a male shouting as he was pinned to the floor by officers.
A crowd gathered around him, with one man heard accusing the arresting officer of “twisting him [the suspect] all over the show”.
Another male is recorded accusing the officers of being “rats”.
As a number of onlookers become more vocal, a male officer can be heard urging them to “push back”. He is met with insults from a bystander who appears to claim he could “punch [the officer’s] head in”.
As the suspect at the centre of the commotion is led away, another male attempts to follow him, only to be pulled back by the officer.
Further trouble followed when a woman in a dressing gown approached the officer, who pushes her away, sparking others to move towards him – including a male who appears to aim a kick in his direction.
At this point the officers uses PAVA spray – similar to pepper spray – in a bid to force the crowd back.
Footage of the incident has been shared hundreds of times online.
POLICE SAY OFFICERS WERE ‘DOING THEIR BEST’ IN FACE OF ‘AGGRESSIVE’ CROWD
In response to the film, Merseyside Police said its officers were surrounded by an “aggressive” crowd and that footage of the incident would be used to decide whether anyone involved should face action.
Chief Inspector Keith McLachlan, said: “When the two officers restrained the two males, they very quickly found themselves surrounded by a large group of people who were threatening and abusive towards them. As a result a call went out for assistance and other officers attended.
“The crowd continued to be aggressive towards the officers and at one point officers had to resort to use of PAVA spray.
“Two males, aged 18 and 19, from Leasowe were arrested and they have been taken to a police station where they will be interviewed by detectives.”
He added: “We will be reviewing the body-worn camera footage and helicopter footage of the incident to see if further offences were committed by other people within the crowd that surrounded the officers.
“These officers were doing their best after a victim of crime called the police for assistance, after his motorbike was stolen.
“The victim is a fast food delivery driver and he is reliant on his motorbike to earn a living.
“I don’t know if the members of the crowd that surrounded the officers were aware of this, but I would hope that they realise the police are there to support victims of crime and to arrest those responsible for crime and should not be impeded when trying to do their job.”