OFFICERS from neighbouring forces are to be drafted in to help police the Steel City Derby at the weekend.
Police chiefs have called on neighbouring forces to provide extra back up and make sure rival fans are kept apart.
The extra officers will prevent Sunday’s big game at Bramall Lane from tying up too many local officers and ensure the force can cope with policing incidents elsewhere in South Yorkshire.
Weekly leave has also been cancelled for all South Yorkshire officers in a bid to boost numbers.
Derbies between Sheffield United and Wednesday have been marred by violence in the past with rival fans clashing.
Superintendent Rachel Barber, in charge of the policing operation, said a new tactic is to be introduced for the first time this year.
Streets will be cordoned off with barriers to keep rival fans apart, with specific streets earmarked for use by Blades fans only and others for Owls fans only.
Police chiefs stress the use of barriers is not ‘kettling’ - a controversial policing technique for controlling large crowds where cordons of police officers try to keep crowds in a specific area and prevent people from leaving.
Supt Barber said: “The use of these barriers is not kettling, supporters will be free to leave the area through the exit points. It is just a method of keeping supporters apart for the safety of everybody at the match.”
The police chief said all known United and Wednesday fans serving football banning orders for hooliganism and disorder are being visited in the run up to the derby to warn them against attempting to get to the game or anywhere near Bramall Lane.
There are currently 78 banned Wednesday supporters and 42 outlawed United fans.
Supt Barber said she wanted fans to be able to watch the game safely and for the policing operation not to impact on incidents elsewhere across the city.
“There is a lot of passion surrounding the derby and for the vast majority it will be an occasion to enjoy and where friendly rivalry is to be expected but for those who think they can turn up and cause trouble - don’t,” she said.
“There will be a significant number of officers on duty, with assistance from colleagues from neighbouring forces, because the safety of everyone at the game is our priority.”
The match on Sunday kicks off at noon.
- LIKE points, good things in football come in threes.
And that’s why Sheffield Wednesday will be providing three enhanced quality big screens for the Steel City derby beam back.
The screens, which are owned by the ADI Group, will be placed equidistant along the South Stand touchline at Hillsborough to offer Owls fans the best viewing experience.
Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric said: “We will be taking over 4,000 supporters to Bramall Lane and I know we would take double that number and more if we could.
“So for those who do not have tickets, we want to make sure they have the best possible alternative.”
More than 5,000 tickets have already been sold and fans are urged to move fast to secure their seats. Supporters will be housed initially in the South Stand and then the Grandstand. Prices are £10 for adults and £5 concessions.
Tickets can be purchased online at swfc.co.uk/tickets, over the phone on 0871 9001867 or in person at the Owls Megastore.