Police officers from across country drafted in for 'high risk' game in Sheffield

Hillsborough football stadiumHillsborough football stadium
Hillsborough football stadium
Police officers from across the country were drafted in for the Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds match in Sheffield last weekend.

Ranked by police chiefs as the most 'high risk' game of the season in South Yorkshire, with most potential for disorder, an extra 181 officers from other forces were brought in to help 201 South Yorkshire bobbies on duty.

They were sent from Durham, Northumbria, Warwickshire, West Mercia, Cleveland, North Wales, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Thames Valley.Temporary Superintendent Simon Wanless, who planned the policing arrangements, said other forces were asked to help out because of the number of South Yorkshire officers on holiday.

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He said the Yorkshire derby has been marred by trouble in the past, with disorder breaking out in Hillsborough at the end of last season's fixture in January.

In 2012, Leeds fans damaged seating on the terraces at Hillsborough and one fan – Aaron Cawley, from Cheltenham – invaded the pitch and assaulted Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland.

Police chiefs described the tactics used as 'successful,' with officers managing to keep rival fans apart and to prevent outbreaks of violence.

Only one arrest was made as part of the operation, with a 23-year-old man held on suspicion of possessing Class A drug with intent to supply.

He has since been bailed.

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Supt Wanless said: "This is a significant fixture for us, it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, of the season for us.

"It's a local derby and historically there have been issues at this game."

Supt Wanless said that while there was nothing beforehand to suggest that fans were intent on fighting, it would have been 'foolish' of the police not to have planned for that being 'a distinct possibility'.

"The moment the fixtures came out at the end of June we started planning and it worked as we were not caught out at any point," he said.

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"Wherever a fan turned there was an effective and visible police presence to deter them.

"Our intent was to deter people from disorder and to be ahead of the game and apart from a little bit of shouting at each other from across the road that's all there was."

He issued a warning to fans intent on trouble this season.

"We will take proactive and reactive action against any fans who think of coming here and causing disorder, spoiling it for the majority," he added,