Police chiefs defend Sheffield derby policing operation
Police chiefs have defended the derby day policing operation in Sheffield last night, despite complaints from some fans.
South Yorkshire Police said there were six derby related arrests last night and that although there were some outbreaks of disorder in the city the violence and anti-social behaviour seen was on a much reduced scale than at previous meetings of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
CRIME: Six arrested as rival fans clash at Sheffield derby The force has stressed that thorough investigations will be carried out into each incident.
Chief Superintendent Shaun Morley, who led the policing operation in and around Hillsborough football stadium, thanked the majority of fans who avoided trouble and supported the policing operation, which involved 300 officers.
Drones were used for the first time to monitor the crowds from above to help police chiefs deploy resources to where they were most needed.
But some fans have criticised the operation, claiming Sheffield United fans should not have been allowed out of the stadium at the same time as Wednesday fans, claiming that missiles, including fireworks, were hurled as supporters clashed.
They also said supporters clashed as rival groups attempted to board trams at the same time.
Some disgruntled fans who were injured in clashes have posted photographs of themselves on social media, including Trevor Allison who is pictured with blood pouring down his face from a head wound.
Another fan turned to Twitter to reveal how he helped a Sheffield United fan who had been bottled in an attack.
Chf Supt Morley said: “There were some issues. You are always going to get some on emotive occasions like this when supporters of both sides who feel so strongly come together. These issues will be investigated thoroughly.”
He said officers chose to ‘manage the exit’ of Sheffield United fans rather than keeping them in the stadium after the match against their will.
“We assessed the threat and risk and although some fans did come together police officers regained control of that situation quickly,” he said.
The police chief added: “We accept that there will always be situations when you get fans in large volumes in close proximity to each other and some disorder did occur in some isolated situations, but when you look at the picture holistically there was no widespread disorder.
“When rival groups did come together they were broken up quickly.
“Issues around disorder, anti-social behaviour and conflict were much reduced last night compared with previous derbies and I would like to thank the fans and supporters that attended the game for playing their part as the vast majority were well behaved.
“We did not see the issues we have seen at previous derbies. The attitude and approach of most fans last night contributed to the reduction in conflict.”