Police faced “significant aggression” and some were injured as they dealt with disorder in Leicester, the force’s chief constable has said.
Sixteen officers and a police dog were injured on Saturday as they worked to stop groups of men from attacking each other, Rob Nixon said.
The unrest came amid tensions involving mainly young men from sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities.
The policing operation is continuing into Monday evening.
A 20-year-old man from Leicester was jailed for 10 months, according to Leicestershire Police, after he pleaded guilty on Monday to possession of an offensive weapon.
Officers ‘significantly outnumbered’
Mr Nixon said officers had been brought in “from all sorts of different parts of the country” to help with the operation.
“They were faced with significant aggression, I think they faced some very, very challenging situations, and I actually do believe they put themselves in danger to protect the public,” he said.
“I have to say, I was actually on the ground [on Saturday] and I saw the level of aggression and the level of non-compliance, and I thought my officers did a tremendous job when significantly outnumbered.
“I think we were faced with a significant number of people that were intent on causing significant injury to other people, and my officers stood their ground.”
Some officers cancelled their days off in order to help, including those from other forces.
“These people are being drawn in at a time when there is probably the largest policing operation in the country, linked with the state funeral, so these things are having a broader impact,” Mr Nixon said.
Police said the original disorder on Saturday had been sparked by a protest in the East Leicester area.
Another protest involving about 100 people followed on Sunday, but police said there had been no further disorder overnight into Monday.
Two people were arrested during the disorder on Saturday – one on suspicion of possession of a bladed article, and the other on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Police said a further 18 people were arrested on Sunday night for offences including affray, common assault, possession of an offensive weapon and violent disorder.
Some community members have criticised police for not making more arrests during the original disorder.
Mr Nixon said: “Clearly making arrests in that really dynamic situation can take officers away from what they’re trying to do at that time.
“The primary objective on Saturday night was to keep separation between these large groups.
“Within that there were two people that were arrested, but what I will say is there were significant steps taken in terms of securing the video imagery of people.
“We’ve got an investigative team that has been put in place for each area of these disorders, and we’re then going back over and investigating it.”
The disorder over the weekend was the latest of several incidents, including violence after an India and Pakistan cricket match on 28 August.
Police said a total of 47 people had been arrested in relation to unrest in the east of Leicester since 28 August.
These include people from outside of the city, including some from Birmingham.
Leicester’s elected mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said he and community leaders were “baffled” by the events over the weekend.
“It got fanned by some very distorted social media,” Mr Soulsby said.
“And then fuelled by a lot of people who came in from outside as well as some young local lads who seemed to feel it was appropriate to frighten and disturb this peaceful city.
“I also know there was also a concerted attempt on Saturday to bring people from as far as Birmingham, to ship them across to have a bit of a ‘set-to’ in Leicester.”
Community leaders in the city have joined police in calling for calm.
Suleman Nagdi, of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, told the BBC: “There are some very dissatisfied young men who have been causing havoc.
“We need to get the message out that this must end and try to do this through parents and grandparents talking to their sons.”
Sanjiv Patel, who represents Hindu and Jain temples across Leicester, said: “Violence is not a solution to anything. This has to be a time for peace, calm and engagement.”
Leicestershire Police Federation said the injuries to the police officers were “utterly despicable”.
Chairman Adam Commons said: “My colleagues do not come to work to be subjected to this type of behaviour and should not be going home nursing cuts and bruises.
“One of our police dogs has also been injured in a disgraceful attack.
“They are all trying to do their job and keep people safe.”
Related Internet Links
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.